Black History Month

Celebrate with online events and stories about African Americans’ contributions to science and museums.

A man wearing a black suit stands looking into a exhibition display case.

Throughout February, hear from Field staff, collaborators, and guest speakers about a variety of career paths in museums and the sciences. Learn about the contributions of African American scientists, artists, and educators—past and present.

Virtual events

Commemorate Black History Month with online events that students, families, and adults will enjoy.

Plus, join in the conversation on social media. We’ll be sharing African American stories and amplifying Black voices through our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts during February and all year long. Be sure to follow us to learn about the people and work that make our museum special.

Meet a Scientist

Every Wednesday at 2:30pm, hear from Field Museum staff members in a variety of different roles. They’ll share their backgrounds and work experiences.

Meet a Scientist Online streams live on Facebook.

Watch Meet a Scientist

Two people seen talking to each other via Zoom. Their backgrounds are both of Stanley Field Hall at the Field Museum.

Professional seminars

Every Wednesday at noon, the A. Watson Armour III Research Seminar Series features Black in STEM guest speakers. Educators, students, and science professionals will share their personal career paths and discuss the challenges to and importance of BIPOC representation in the sciences. 

Seminars take place online via Zoom and are free to attend. Please register in advance.

Attend seminars

Dr. Lisa White speaks at a podium.

Shop featured items online

Celebrate Black History Month with special merchandise, books, and toys. All purchases help support the Field’s work.

Browse the Store

A metal camp mug featuring the Pan-African flag and the Field Museum logo.

Recommended reading at home

Museum educators shared their recommended reads for exploring Black History Month with children. Purchase select titles from the Field Museum store or find them at your local library.

  • Cece Loves Science by Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes
  • Women in Biology by Mary Wissinger
  • Wangari's Trees of Peace by Jeanette Winter
  • My Family Plays Music by Judy Cox
  • Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
  • We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs
  • Be a Maker by Katey Howes
  • Anansi the Spider by Gerald McDermott
  • Abiyoyo by Peter Seeger
  • Whoosh: Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton
  • Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book by Muriel Feelings
  • The Spider Weaver: A Legend of Kente Cloth by Margaret Musgrove
  • Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema
  • Anansi and the Moss Colored Rock by Eric A. Kimmel
  • The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad and S.K. Ali
  • Parker Looks Up by Parker Curry and Jessica Curry
  • A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keets

Learn about Carl Cotton

If you’ve ever walked through our taxidermy halls, there’s a good chance you saw the handiwork of Carl W. Cotton.

Starting in 1947, he created realistic animal figures at the Field for nearly 25 years. Unlike most taxidermists then—and now—Cotton was African American.

Learn about his life, career, and lasting impact in our small exhibition A Natural Talent: The Taxidermy of Carl Cotton. Then, find Cotton's work throughout the museum. You can also dig into a blog post by Exhibitions Developer Tori Lee, who helped lead a months-long effort to uncover and tell Cotton's story

Watch a tour of the Carl Cotton exhibition

Carl Cotton, wearing a lab coat, sits in front of a diorama with birds. He holds an artist’s palette, and a variety of paint, brushes, and other supplies are spread out on the floor in front of him.

Cotton at work on the Nile marsh diorama in 1953. In addition to preparing every bird, he also replicated each lily pad by hand, bringing the East African habitat to life.