Exhibitions

Sights and Sounds of a Gallery

What goes into creating multimedia pieces for a museum gallery? In our exhibition, Drawing on Tradition: Kanza Artist Chris Pappan, the Museum collaborated with Chris Pappan, Adam Sings In The Timber, Debra Yepa-Pappan and Santiago X to create the immersive experience that brings the exhibition to life. Chris shared the following about putting together the audio and video for the show:

Drawing of an animal that looks like a large cat with small ears and long, sharp teeth

Dueling sabers: What this marsupial has in common with a cat

Saber-toothed cats such as Smilodon are easy to recognize, thanks to their long, sharp canine teeth. But saber-toothed cats had an unexpected lookalike: something more closely related to a kangaroo than a cat. Thylacosmilus was a saber-toothed mammal most closely related to marsupials, living in South America between seven and three million years ago. The marsupial’s young would continue developing after birth, while the placental saber-toothed cat gave birth to developed offspring.

Painting the Diorama

Last year, The Brain Scoop kicked off Project Hyena Diorama, an Indiegogo campaign aimed at raising the funds necessary to build a brand new permanent habitat diorama at The Field Museum that would house a quartet of striped hyenas taxidermied by Carl Akeley in 1896. In six weeks we raised 91% of the funds thanks to Brain Scoop and museum fans from all over the world, and so began the long process of research and construction.

Lichen-covered car door on display in the lichen exhibit at the Field Museum

Old, lichen-covered car door displayed like a precious jewel

April is taxidermy and diorama month. At first glance difficult to make a connection to lichens. But only at first glance. Of course the best example of lichen dioramas is our very own lichen exhibit, and especially its center piece: the now famous car door. It nicely shows how an old piece of "junk", specifically the driver door of a classic Ford Bronco, can come to shine in new light. Whereas a lichen-covered car is already a spectacular sight, our exhibit team did a fabulous job in setting up said door in a case illuminated with UV, making it look like a precious jewel.

A female conservator works on a painted Egyptian coffin.

Introduction to the Conservation of "Mummies: Images of the Afterlife"

Traveling exhibits pose a challenge for museums, especially when particularly fragile objects such as mummies are involved. We want to share our objects and what we’ve found out about them with people outside the museum, but transporting the objects to other museums involves all kinds for risks – traffic accidents, malfunctioning forklifts, road vibration, and freezing winters to name just a few.

Dunkbot

In 2008, I had an opportunity to help Mark Westneat Ph.D with construction of a Biomechanical model of a Dunkelosteous, a prehistoric fish, to test its bite strength. The model was filmed for an episode of History Channel’s series “Evolve”. We had a three-minute segment in the “Jaws and Claws” episode. We smashed all kinds of stuff in the jaws, and had a generally good time. The model is currently on display with the Field Museum’s exhibition, Biomechanics: The Machine Inside.

How many trees are there in the Amazon?

A couple of weeks ago some colleagues and I wrote a paper in Science reporting some new findings on Amazonian forests. Some of the findings are actually just numbers, and one of those numbers is really big. It's the number of trees we think probably grow in the Amazon, and it's 390 billion.

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