The Field Museum features the viewpoints of the Apsáalooke or Crow people using a combination of newly created artwork, historical artifacts, drawings, sculpture, paintings, photography, and fashion in this exhibition. Together the works highlight people’s roles and explore what is sacred within this Native American society where women set the foundation and bravery is honored. It is a beautiful portrait of a culture.
What to Expect at the Exhibit
Coming in off the main hall on the ground floor, my children and I entered and began watching an animated origin story that nicely set the tone of our experience. As we walked through multiple rooms, we saw that pieces from the 1800s and modern day are presented near one another, showing the deep roots from which modern artists take their inspiration. My fashionable seven-year old was drawn to the intricate beadwork and clothing.
The final room features modern high fashion designs that beautifully reference traditional details like elk tooth embellishment and beadwork.
My three-year old did not understand everything he saw, but he liked the video and a few touchable items which were mounted at kid height. He also liked the war shields which are displayed and lighted dramatically. These have never before been displayed to the public. I found them beautiful. My big kid, an animal lover, was upset to see some preserved animal bodies and heads on the shields and other pieces, so other sensitive museum-goers may as well.
Who Would Enjoy Visiting
My daughter put in nicely when she said this exhibition “would be great for anyone interested in learning about a different culture.” While my preschooler found parts interesting, it was a large and dark experience with lots of text. He was tired and less enthusiastic toward the end. It might be most interesting to kids aged seven and up, but it is appropriate for all ages if your whole family visits together.
Visit if you or your children are interested in:
- Native American life, past and present.
- Women’s voices in art.
- Warriors and ideas about bravery.
- LGTBQ issues and gender expression. It explores a culturally accepted third gender, batee, also known as two-spirited.
- Fashion and beadwork.
The topics covered are great starting points for family conversations about cultures, genders, norms, and values.
Price and Schedule
Apsáalooke Women and Warriors opens Friday, March 13 and runs through April 4, 2021. As a special exhibition, it isn’t included in general admission so you’ll need to purchase either All Access tickets ($38 for adults and $29 for children ages 3-11 for Illinois residents) or Discovery Pass tickets ($32 for adults and $23 for children ages 3-11 for Illinois residents) to enter.
A smaller companion show at the Neubauer Colleguim for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago is free and open to the public at 5701 South Woodlawn Ave. Chicago, IL 60637. It runs through August 2020. The companion show features one war shield and, while I haven’t seen it, I was told by a museum representative it includes some touchable and kid-friendly features. That would be a worthwhile visit if you’re in Hyde Park.
Tips for Visiting the Field Museum
A trip to the Field Museum has been a special treat throughout my life. I loved it so much, I spent two summers working there in high school and college!
It is a bit of a splurge for the average family to visit. Basic admission runs $80 for two adults and two kids and that doesn’t include parking. Family memberships are $150, which is less than two visits for most families, so it may be a worthwhile investment to get the membership.
When my family goes, we always make a day of it. We pack a lunch and have a picnic near the north entrance and enjoy the boats, runners, and quintessential skyline view. Food carts and a lower-level cafeteria are available, but we take advantage of the museum’s policy to allow you to leave and reenter the same day.
We always visit our absolute favorites and my top picks for kids: Sue the T-rex, the mummies, and the Pawnee Earth Lodge. The basement has private and quiet mother’s rooms.
The Field Museum
1400 South Lakeshore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
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