The Field Museum is home to some big animals: Sue, the city's
most famous dino, and a pair of five-ton elephants greet visitors
when they enter the museum's main hall. But just a few yards away,
a new exhibit opening this week highlights an animal that's much
smaller and much more closely entwined with our own history.
The Field Museum 's newest exhibit, The Horse,
running Feb. 16-Aug. 14, explores the bond between humans and
horses over some 10 million years. The exhibit features artifacts
from around the world, some pretty cool 3-D animation and no fewer
than nine (we counted 'em) life-sized horses.
[Watch the video! (Right)]
"For most people living in a city like Chicago , their
experience with horses is cowboys and racetracks," says Tom
Skweski, the exhibit's project manager. "There's so much more to
this story of horses and humans than just ponies."
While there's no "kids corner," and nothing quite as
kid-friendly as the baby mammoth that headlined the Field's Mammoth
& Mastadon's exhibit, The Horse has plenty for young visitors.
Do you have a paleontology buff? The Field Museum borrowed from its
own collection of archaeological horse bones -- the largest in
North America -- for a diorama of horse evolution and early
hunting. A steam-powered fire engine, on loan from the Museum of
Science and Industry, highlights horses in Chicago history. And all
kids will love the pair of saddles in the rear of the exhibit that
they can sit on. (You might want to bring your cowboy hat: With a
sky-and-clouds backdrop, it makes for a great photo op for
The exhibit opens with an archaeology space, where kids might
like the touchable recreations of ancient cave drawings. But it
really gets going around the corner, where a 15-foot-wide screen
displays an interactive peek inside a moving, life-sized horse
(horse #1). Visitors can control the display with two touch
screens. The room is rounded out by a horse skeleton (#3) and a
small lesson on horse anatomy where kids can see how they measure
The boys in the third-grade class at Tuesday's premiere loved
the next room, which is all about horses in warfare, complete with
medieval knights, a horse in samurai armor (#5) and a bit on the
Be sure to check out the horse-drawn fire engine (#6), a terra
cotta horse from India (#7), and a stunning set of Native American
ceremonial horse gear (#8) before moving on to some of the more
modern exhibits, which include toy horses from around the world,
trophies from the Kentucky Derby, and a fascinating little bit on
the Pony Express.
The Horse is probably best for kids 10 and up; the kids at
Tuesday's premiere took to some features, like the 3-D computer
animated horse and the saddles, but skipped over some of the more
historical and archaeological parts of the exhibit.
Oh, yes. Horse #9, which you'll catch on the way out, stands
alone: a horse-shaped sculpture made of Hawaiian ohio wood branches
cast in bronze. Can you find them all? Giddy up!
"The Horse" runs at the Field Museum from Feb. 16-Aug. 14.
It is not included in basic admission, but is included in either
the Discovery Pass ($22 for adults, $15 for children 3-11) or the
All-Access Pass ($29 for adults, $20 for children)
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