Off the Tracks with Michele: The Field Museum

 

field

I can’t remember the last time I visited the Field Museum of Natural History. I’m sure it was over 15 years ago! Last week my visitors asked if we could check it out, so we were off to explore!
On the steps to the entrance we were met with several unique black sculptures. They were created by the musician/artist Herb Alpert! (Did anyone else’s mom make them listen to The Tijuana Brass while they did their chores??) Alpert was inspired by cedar totem poles he had seen in Vancouver made by indigenous artists. He “took the work in more abstract directions and it became more like a jazz response.” We were off to a great start and we hadn’t even gotten inside yet!

Once inside, we were greeted by Sue the T Rex, which is always a thrill. I had forgotten that her head is so heavy (600 lbs.!!) that they have it in a separate display case.

We went upstairs to check out Sue’s skull, and found my very favorite area of the museum. The Grainger Hall of Gems.  There is some amazing jewelry on display here, as well as cases of incredible minerals and meteorites which are beautiful and awe inspiring. I kept thinking that my friend, artist / jeweler Flannery Grace Good would be in gem heaven here!!

Onward to the special exhibit “China’s First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors”. This exhibit is totally worth the ticket price. It is so interesting and beyond fascinating. In 1974 a farmer was digging a well and revealed a major archaeological find. The tomb of Qin Shihuangdi, guarded by an estimated 8,000 terra-cotta warriors. Each warrior is unique, with distinct faces, and were hand painted. The work is an absolute marvel. Qin Shihuangdi ascended the throne at the age of 13(!!!) in 221 BC. Before the age of 40 he had conquered the last of his rivals and forged the country we now know as China.  He united his empire through a common writing system, standardizing the currency, and having a unified system of measurement. He is also credited with the construction of The Great Wall of China. The history is mind boggling, as are  the treasures and art .  This exhibit is up until January of 2017.

-Michele

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