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The History of Christmas
2,000 Years of Faith, Fable, and Festivity
by Heather Lefebvre

This book will take you on a journey from Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, through Roman times and the Middle Ages, into the Reformation and then the Victorian era. You will finally touch down in our modern–day Christmas with all the things that make us think of this wonderful season – decorations, presents, delicious food.
                                   
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From Dinosaurs to Elephants
and Everything in Between

by
Bob Brooke

 

The Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH), also known as The Field Museum, is a natural history museum in Chicago, Illinois, and is one of the largest such museums in the world.



The diverse, high-quality permanent exhibitions, which attract up to two million visitors annually, range from the earliest fossils to past and current cultures from around the world to interactive programming demonstrating today's urgent conservation needs.
These collections include the full range of existing biodiversity, gems, meteorites, fossils, and rich anthropological collections and cultural artifacts from around the globe.


The scientific collections of the Field Museum originated from the specimens and artifacts assembled between 1891 and 1893 for the World Columbian Exposition. Already at its founding, the Field Museum had a large anthropological collection.

In order to house for future generations the exhibits and collections assembled for the Exposition, Edward Ayer convinced the merchant Marshall Field to fund the establishment of a museum. Originally titled the Columbian Museum of Chicago in honor of its origins, the State of Illinois incorporated the Field Museum on September 16, 1893, for the purpose of the "accumulation and dissemination of knowledge, and the preservation and exhibition of artifacts illustrating art, archaeology, science and history." The Columbian Museum of Chicago occupied the Palace of the Arts, the only building remaining from the World's Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park. It’s now home to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.
 

WATCH A VIDEO:  Field Museum Artifacts from the World’s Columbian Exposition

In 1905, the museum changed its name to the Field Museum of Natural History to honor its first major benefactor and to reflect its focus on the natural sciences. From 1943 to 1966, it was known as the Chicago Natural History Museum. In 1921, the Museum moved from its original location in Jackson Park to its present site on Chicago Park District property near downtown. By the late 1930s the Field had emerged as one of the three premier museums in the United States, the other two being the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

Animal Halls
Animal exhibitions and dioramas such as Nature Walk, Mammals of Asia, and Mammals of Africa that allow visitors an up-close look at the diverse habitats that animals inhabit. Most notably featured are the infamous man-eating lions of Tsavo. The Mfuwe man eating lion is also on display.

Evolving Planet
Evolving Planet follows the evolution of life on Earth over four billion years. The exhibit showcases fossils of single-celled organisms, Permian synapsids, dinosaurs, extinct mammals, and early hominoids. The Field Museum's non-mammalian synapsid collection consists of over 1100 catalogued specimens, including 46 holotypes. The collection of basal synapsids includes 29 holotypes of caseid, ophiacodontid, edaphosaurid, varanopid, and sphenacodontid species - approximately 88% of catalogued specimens.



Inside Ancient Egypt
Inside Ancient Egypt offers a glimpse into what life was like for ancient Egyptians. Twenty-three human mummies are on display as well as many mummified animals. The exhibit features a three-story replica, featuring two authentic rooms with 5,000-year-old hieroglyphs of the mastaba tomb of Unas-Ankh, the son of Unas, the last pharaoh of the Fifth Dynasty. Also displayed are an ancient marketplace showing artifacts of everyday life, a shrine to the cat goddess Bastet, and dioramas showing the afterlife preparation process for the dead.

The Ancient Americas
The Ancient Americas displays 13,000 years of human ingenuity and achievement in the Western Hemisphere, where hundreds of diverse societies thrived long before the arrival of Europeans. In this large permanent exhibition visitors can learn the epic story of the peopling of these continents, from the Arctic to the tip of South America.



Cultural Halls
Cultural exhibitions include sections on Tibet and China, where visitors can view traditional clothing. There is also an exhibit on life in Africa, where visitors can learn about the many different cultures on the continent, and an exhibit where visitors may "visit" several Pacific Islands. The museum houses an authentic 19th-century Maori Meeting House, Ruatepupuke II, from Tokomaru Bay, New Zealand.

Geology Halls
The Grainger Hall of Gems contains a large collection of diamonds and gems from around the world, as well as a Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass window. The Hall of Jades focuses on Chinese jade artifacts spanning 8,000 years.


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