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The Field Museum All Over the News

By Rachelle Bowden in News on Oct 25, 2004 4:30PM

Lots of news at The Field Museum these days! From the selling of Indian art, to the preservation of Iraqi artifacts, to a new Incas exhibit, to a party: we've got it all summarized here.

Play the FieldFirst off, the party. Because Chicagoist loves parties and especially ones that mix music with cocktails with culture. This Thursday from 6pm - 11pm, XRT and UR Magazine are putting a Halloween spin on this month's 'Play the Field' event inside at the Field Museum. The U2 tribute band Elevation and The Police tribute band Driven to Tears will both be playing while you explore the Field Museum's newest exhibit, Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas, the largest collection of Inca artifacts ever assembled in the U.S.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and include a complimentary beverage. You have to be 21 to get in and all money benefits The Field Museum.

George Catlin's Indian ArtNext up: The sale of Indian art. The Field Museum has gotten itself into a bit of hot water on this one. Here's the deal: The museum has 31 American Indian portraits and paintings of Western scenes by 19th Century artist George Catlin. They've had these paintings for 111 years and now they want to auction them off to raise money for their anthropology collection.

Now, of course, some people are saying that the sale is unethical and that we'll be robbed of a scientific and cultural treasure. But the museum says that the paintings, while they're valuable as art, are not scientifically valuable. The museum's president says that if The Field Museum were an art museum it'd be a different story, but that their strategy is different than that of an art museum's. We can see their point, but it's not like Chicago doesn't have any art musuems. How about making a deal with the Art Institute or something?

KishLastly, but not least importantly, the Field Museum is starting a 2-year project that they're hoping will help bridge the cultural and scientific barriers created by the Iraq war. With the help of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the musuem is studying, catalogging, and reconciling the scattered artifacts from the famous 5,000 year old archaeological site of Kish. 50 miles south of Baghdad, Kish is one of the world's oldest cities and where the wheel was invented. Seriously, the earliest evidence of wheeled transport. Ok, so maybe the wheel wasn't invented there. Maybe the prehistoric car? Or .. train?

With the 100,000 Kish artifacts, The Field Museum will create a digital catalog available on the Internet and in print in both English and Arabic. Also, a database of the objects will be created.