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1893 World's Columbian Exposition: Field Museum Holdings

For six short months in 1893, Jackson Park in Chicago was home to one of the largest and most spectacular expositions of the 19th Century. Near the close of the Fair, The Field Columbian Museum (now The Field Museum) was founded.

What is at The Field Museum?

Originally conceived as a permanent memorial to the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, The Field Columbian Museum opened on June 2, 1894 with approximately 50,000 objects from the Fair. Today, the museum comprises nearly 30 million artifacts and specimens and is one of the world's leading natural history museums. 

Over 2,000 objects remain on display from the Fair (out of approximately 27,000 items currently on exhibit); visit the Information Desk at Stanley Field Hall during regular visiting hours for tours and locations of objects. 

See also Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair for highlights from our special exhibit in 2013-2014. 

Collections

The Field Museum's legacy from the Fair is our natural history collections:

  • animal skeletons and taxidermy
  • woods, fibers, resins, oils, and seeds
  • rocks and minerals
  • instruments, including a large Samoan drum and a Javanese gamelan

Frequently Asked Questions

©The Field Museum, CSZ6227. Glass models of invertebrates pictured here in Hall 24 Lower Invertebrates of Field Columbian Museum, 1899. 

Does The Field Museum Library accept donations of World's Fair materials? Though we are not actively collecting in this area, we occasionally accept donations: please email Museum Librarian Gretchen Rings at grings@fieldmuseum.org.

Who can I talk to about getting an item appraised? The Field Museum does not provide appraisals; please locate a professional appraiser near you through the Appraisers Association of America.  

 

Library Holdings

Library Holdings: Available for viewing by appointment

  • Original materials relating to the World's Columbian Exposition and to the founding and early history of The Field Museum, including ledgers, memorabilia, entrance tickets, correspondence and original charter for the Museum. Contact reflib@fieldmuseum.org for further information. 
  • An extensive guide to WCE related material in the Field Museum is "Centennial Objects: Final Report." This work compiles and summarizes the outcome of the "Centennial Objects" project, which sought to identify objects acquired by the Museum before December 31, 1894 and were still on display at its publication date of 1994.