Black History Month

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

Come enjoy Muntu Dance Theater, celebrating its 50th anniversary and helping us celebrate the Africa Hall's 30th anniversary!

Throughout February, hear from Field staff, collaborators, and guest speakers about their lived experiences in museums and the sciences. Learn about the contributions of African American scientists, artists, and icons—past and present.

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.

Featured Events

Commemorate Black History Month with the following events for students, families, and adults. More details and registration links coming soon!

Keynote Speaker Naomi Davis

Join us February 1 as we kick off Black History Month with the Armour Seminar Series Presents Black in STEM and keynote Speaker Naromi Davis, Founder & CEO of Blacks in Green. Blacks in Green’s signature Sustainable Square Mile is the gold standard for Black community development. BIG is also planning community-based economies centered on housing and waste management, and is already offering training for jobs in clean energy and agriculture. 

Details

See more Armour Seminar Series Presents Black in STEM

Africa Hall 30th Anniversary Celebration

2023 is the year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Africa Hall opening during the Field Museum’s centennial year on November 13, 1993. Join us February 20 to learn why it was revolutionary for its time and how the exhibit still educates the public today. Help us celebrate along with the Muntu Dance Theater and Bamoun community in the United States.

Details

Still Searching - Chicago's Missing Women and Girls

From the African continent and throughout the Diaspora, people of African heritage have experienced loved one’s going missing for centuries and we’re exploring historical and contemporary community responses. Join us in an effort to raise awareness about the ongoing occurrence of missing Black women and girls and understanding about how families and communities are coping with their losses.

Details

Changing Gateways to Science: Career Panel and Mixer   

On February 28, the Field is highlighting the work of our late colleague, Lynika Strozier, and the exhibition in her memory: The Changing Face of Science. This panel and mixer will allow students and early-career professionals to explore the many gateways to science and make lasting industry connections. Lynika always dreamt of teaching undergraduate students— join us as we learn, connect, and honor her legacy.

Details

Two researchers reviewing collections materials in a lab.

More Events and Activities

Shop featured items online

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

Browse All Products

A selection of items available for purchase at the museum store, including a stack of books, a mug, a greeting card and enamel pins.

Recommended reading at home

Museum staff can participate in a Black History Month book club. In the spirit of group reading, here are recommended reads for adults and kids from our friends at the Chicago Public Library. Purchase select titles from the Field Museum store or find them at your local library.

African American History: Recent Highlights

African American Heritage Month 2023: Books for Adults

African American Heritage Month 2023: Books for Kids

African American Heritage Month 2023: Books for Teens

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 today—Cotton was African American. Exhibitions Developer Tori Lee recalls seeing a photo of Cotton and the journey that led her on in the blog post Finding Carl Cotton. This is part of a series on Black taxidermists that includes Art Ledger, John Edmonstone, and Sinclair Clark.

Then, find Cotton's work throughout the museum.

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.

Visit on a free day

On select weekdays in February, Illinois residents can visit the museum for free. 

Upcoming free days

Thank you to all the Field Museum staff who helped organize Black History Month programming