The Field Museum Explores its Birth: 1893 World’s Fair Exhibit

field museum

For this post, I’m going to take you back in time to 1893. And to Chicago. Welcome! I’m writing about the 1893 World’s Fair Exhibit for this post. They have an amazing exhibit up currently that focuses on the Chicago World’s Fair, and showcases a ton of items and information from the fair.

field museum

I was initially going to write about our experience with our kids at the exhibit (this being a kid blog and all), but there was a bit of a conflict, and we couldn’t finagle a day to go when our kids could go. Thus, we had a little no-kid date and completely enjoyed ourselves!

We noticed that the kids who were there were pretty excited to roam around and look at all of the displays that amazed visitors to the fair 120 years ago.

world's fair exhibit at field museum

Christian and I were both blown away that we take for granted being familiar with the items we were seeing in the exhibit. While they were still fascinating and beautiful to look at, we’ve grown up having access to museums like the Field Museum, we’ve been to zoos, we’ve handled fossils and studied people from other cultures.

World's Fair Exhibit at the Field Museum

1893 people must have completely freaked when they came face to face with an enormous stuffed lion, or got to gawk at “primitive” tribes people, set up like circus sideshows. (our views of other cultures have come a long way in 120 years, hmmmm?)

In fact, it wasn’t uncommon for people to go to great lengths to purchase tickets to the fair, including mortgaging their home.

world's fair 1893


The Field Museum offers an app to download that helps round out the whole experience when you visit, and we enjoyed hunting for the QR codes in the exhibit to find out more about certain items. If you’ve been to the museum, you’ve most likely encountered the enormous totem poles in the main hall, and you can learn how the left pole was brought to Chicago from Columbia for the fair.

field museum app

Here are ideas to focus on at the museum if you bring your kids:

  • Talk about their reactions to the items on exhibit, and focus on what they are most attracted to
  • Explain to them how the giant building they are standing in was built just for this big fair
  • Discuss some of the items you see in terms of materials, design, colors, use
  • Try to help them understand how fortunate we are to have a place like the Field Museum. How much easier and more ‘real’ is it to learn about something when you can see it firsthand?

As it was, it was still fun to show them the app and they took their own little virtual tour of the museum at home.


I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, however all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

What do you think?

Jeanette Nyberg

Written by Jeanette Nyberg

I'm Jeanette Nyberg: artist, author, introvert, creativity-pusher, color-lover.


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  1. so of course there was no way for me to know, but as i read and scrolled, the octopus (?) on the ceiling scared the beegees outta me LOL. looks like you had a great time! so cool that they have an app for that. 😀

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