The Field Museum has announced a gift of $5.5 million from the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund, a fund created by the founder and CEO of Citadel. The contribution will fund a new traveling exhibition, Antarctic Dinosaurs, and robust educational programming that will provide students, educators and the public with further access to the museum’s renowned learning experiences.
“We are delighted by Ken’s generous investment,” said Richard Lariviere, Ph.D., the museum’s president and CEO. “Over the past 15 years, Ken has been an invaluable partner in our mission to engage and educate the public, giving more than $10.5 million to the museum.”
Sixteen years ago, The Field Museum set a new standard in dinosaur learning experiences with the debut of SUE, the largest and most complete T. rex ever found. In 2006, Griffin helped the museum raise the bar again with the opening of the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet, an interactive exhibit that invites visitors to learn about charismatic dinosaurs within the larger themes of evolution and environmental change. Griffin’s support of Antarctic Dinosaurs and new educational programming is an extension of previous investments dedicated to sharing the Field’s dinosaur collection and learning experiences with Chicago and the world.
Curated by Field Museum paleontologist Dr. Pete Makovicky, Antarctic Dinosaurs will open at The Field Museum in summer 2018 and then embark on a five-year tour, engaging visitors at major museums across North America. Today, Antarctica is a forbidding landscape of rock and ice, but 200 million years ago it was wooded and lush, and part of the Pangaea supercontinent where dinosaurs thrived. The exhibition will showcase newly discovered dinosaur species alongside some of the first scientific specimens collected in Antarctica at the turn of the 20th century. Antarctic Dinosaurs will bring to life the exhilarating hunt for never-before seen fossils, while shedding new light on dinosaur evolution and the Earth’s climate and geology.
In addition to bringing Antarctic Dinosaurs to a global audience, the Charitable Fund’s gift will enable the Field to introduce new dinosaur educational programming, including a multimedia educator toolkit and an immersive educational video game. The dynamic suite of resources will invite the public to go back in time through animated, digital 3D objects and specimens.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have a world-class institution like The Field Museum in Chicago,” said Griffin. “This important institution provides visitors from around the world with unparalleled opportunities to experience and learn about our planet and its history.”The Field Museum is one of the world’s premier natural history institutions. Its staff maintains an irreplaceable collection of more than 30 million artifacts and specimens, which are made available to scientists around the globe. Additionally, the museum maintains more than 350,000 square feet of permanent exhibitions. Since 2000, The Field has created 15 critically acclaimed traveling exhibitions, engaging more than 12 million people worldwide.
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
The Field Museum along Chicago's popular Museum Campus (photo courtesy of The Field Museum).