WBEZ | Field Museum http://www.wbez.org/tags/field-museum Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Natural history experts help people identify flora, fauna, and fossils http://www.wbez.org/news/science/natural-history-experts-help-people-identify-flora-fauna-and-fossils-112921 <p><p>Many of us wonder about that cool rock we kicked up on the shore of Lake Michigan, or the weird-looking bird we once snapped a picture of.</p><p>That&rsquo;s why the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago held its second annual ID Day &mdash; so people could bring in specimens and have them identified by experts.</p><p>Just past the ticket counter, the normally wide-open space had tables for each category &mdash; insects, rocks, birds, mammals, and fossils, to name a few &mdash; and lines snaked along.</p><p>Paul Mayer is the museum&rsquo;s fossil invertebrate collection manager. He said his record ID&#39;ing things for the day wasn&rsquo;t too bad.</p><p>&ldquo;Oh yeah, I&rsquo;m definitely batting over 800, I think. I got a good 80 to 90 percent of what I&rsquo;ve identified, &nbsp;and I&rsquo;m really good on fossil invertebrates,&rdquo; Mayer said. &ldquo;But it&rsquo;s other things that can be trickier.&rdquo;</p><p>David Keenan, 19, brought in two cigar boxes full of &ldquo;other things&rdquo; &mdash; in this case, tiny coin-shaped plant fossils with star-shaped bursts inside them.</p><p>Mayer was totally stumped. Which means Keenan got to take an &ldquo;I Stumped a Scientist!&rdquo; sticker that was on hand.</p><p>Keenan, for his part, wasn&#39;t disappointed by the mystery. Instead, he was even more intrigued by his unknown fossils.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know, it&rsquo;s just encaptured beauty, I guess? Like, flowers and stuff from an age long forgotten. Like, it&rsquo;s way longer than we&rsquo;re gonna last,&ldquo; Keenan said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bones%20and%20Things%201_150914_GJ%20copy.jpg" title="Layla, Dayna and Kayla Chavez admire a millipede with their mother. (WBEZ/Greta Johnsen)" /></div></div><p>Jim Holstein manages the mineral collection for the Field Museum. That means he&rsquo;s the guy who has to tell everyone their special rocks are not, in fact, that special.</p><p>&ldquo;I had one guy that came in today, he had a piece of quartz,&rdquo; Holstein said. &ldquo;It was obvious it was quartz, But he was convinced it was a $50 million diamond. So I had to break the news to him. He refused to believe me.&rdquo;</p><p>But Holstein says 99 percent of the people who come for IDs are willing to accept the truth. But that 1 percent is tenacious.</p><p>&ldquo;Some people, you cannot convince them otherwise, They have their hearts set.&quot;</p><p>A museum spokesperson said about two thousand people came to ID Day.</p><p><em>Greta Johnsen is a WBEZ anchor/reporter. Follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/gretamjohnsen"><em>@gretamjohnsen</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Mon, 14 Sep 2015 11:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/science/natural-history-experts-help-people-identify-flora-fauna-and-fossils-112921 Field Museum show examines the body as a machine http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/field-museum-show-examines-body-machine-109836 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/mantis shrimp.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A new exhibit opening Wednesday at Chicago&rsquo;s Field Museum looks at how animal and human bodies alike function using nature&#39;s equivalent of pumps and springs.</p><p>Visitors to the show will learn how a tiny fox&rsquo;s ears work like air conditioning, why a mantis shrimp&rsquo;s spring mechanism makes it the &ldquo;hardest puncher in the animal kingdom,&rdquo; and how a giraffe&rsquo;s heart pumps blood all the way up its long neck to its brain&nbsp; (The short answer? Apparently giraffes have astonishingly high blood pressure.)</p><p>Scientists who study insects, birds and other creatures to understand these mechanisms, are finding human applications such as Velcro and artificial legs for runners.</p><p>For a sneak peek at the exhibit, listen above to my audio tour with the Field Museum&rsquo;s Marie Georg.</p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes is a WBEZ producer/reporter covering religion, culture and science. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes" target="_blank">@LynetteKalsnes</a></em></p></p> Tue, 11 Mar 2014 17:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/field-museum-show-examines-body-machine-109836 Field Museum exhibit reveals surprise motivation behind World's Fair http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/field-museum-exhibit-reveals-surprise-motivation-behind-worlds-fair-109006 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Palace of Arts and Lagoon.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The World&rsquo;s Columbian Exposition of 1893 put Chicago on the international map, with wonders like a giant Ferris wheel, electric fans and pavilions designed by the world&rsquo;s first &lsquo;starchitect&rsquo; Daniel Burnham.</p><blockquote><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/your-ticket-white-city-108994" target="_blank"><strong>Curious City: What was it like to be a visitor at the 1893 World&#39;s Fair?</strong></a></p></blockquote><p>That World&rsquo;s Fair has attained almost mythical proportions in Chicago. Just 22 years after the Great Fire, the White City rose on the South Side. Visitors could experience wonders of the modern world at the end of the 19th century, and countries from across the globe, eager to export to the United States, brought their specialties.</p><p>Then the successful fair came to a close. The Columbian Museum of Chicago, as the Field was originally called, grew up as a place to preserve over 50,000 objects from the pavilions and cultural villages.</p><p>Christine Niezgoda, the Field&rsquo;s collections manager in botany, said the Fair was a grand setting for something that would seem familiar today.</p><p>&ldquo;People forget this was also a trade show,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>That&rsquo;s right, she called the World&rsquo;s Fair ... a trade show. To hear why, click on the audio above.</p><p><em>The Field Museum&rsquo;s exhibit, &ldquo;Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World&rsquo;s Fair,&rdquo; which showcases fair artifacts and explores the museum&rsquo;s connection to that historic time, begins Friday, Oct. 25.</em></p></p> Fri, 25 Oct 2013 10:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/field-museum-exhibit-reveals-surprise-motivation-behind-worlds-fair-109006 Morning Shift: Revisiting the past and envisioning the future http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-25/morning-shift-revisiting-past-and-envisioning-future <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1893 Flickr Boston Public Library.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We take a look back at an important moment in Chicago&#39;s history: World&rsquo;s Columbian Exposition of 1893. Plus, comedian Alonzo Bodden finds the humor in headline news.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-revisiting-the-past-and-envisioning/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-revisiting-the-past-and-envisioning.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-revisiting-the-past-and-envisioning" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Revisiting the past and envisioning the future" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 25 Oct 2013 08:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-25/morning-shift-revisiting-past-and-envisioning-future Your ticket to the White City http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/your-ticket-white-city-108994 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ferris%20wheel%202.jpg" style="height: 222px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="The Ferris wheel at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. (Library of Congress)" />The Field Museum unveils a <a href="http://fieldmuseum.org/happening/exhibits/opening-vaults-wonders-1893-worlds-fair" target="_blank">new exhibit this week</a> about the 1893 Columbian Exposition.</p><p>The World&rsquo;s Fair was held in Chicago&rsquo;s Jackson Park and&mdash;for six ballyhooed months&mdash;brought together ancient cultures, cutting-edge technology and a Ferris wheel that makes Navy Pier&rsquo;s look pint-sized in comparison.</p><p>It was a monumental feat for the growing metropolis, made even more impressive by the fact that the city was just two decades past the infamous and <a href="http://www.chicagohs.org/history/fire.html" target="_blank">devastating fire</a>.</p><p>Millions of travelers who flocked to Chicago for the Fair were faced with the stark juxtaposition of architect Daniel Burnham&rsquo;s White City and the soot-stained, crime-ridden urban environment beyond the fairgrounds.</p><p>Curious Citizen Michael Dotson wanted a more complete picture of what the Exposition was like for someone who bought one of the 27 million tickets sold, so he asked two fair-related questions. We couldn&rsquo;t resist this one:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>What was it like to be a visitor at the 1893 World&rsquo;s Fair?</em></p><p>The bestselling nonfiction book <em><a href="http://www.randomhouse.com/crown/devilinthewhitecity/home.html" target="_blank">The Devil in the White City</a></em> offers a vivid portrait of the Fair from the perspective of two men: the aforementioned <a href="http://www.pbs.org/programs/make-no-little-plans/" target="_blank">Daniel Burnham</a> and the <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/hh-holmes-307622" target="_blank">serial killer H.H. Holmes</a>.</p><p>But to help us understand what a day at the Fair was like for people who weren&rsquo;t building cities or elaborate death traps, we used a different book: <em><a href="http://chicagobydayandnight.com/" target="_blank">Chicago by Day and Night: The Pleasure Seeker&rsquo;s Guide to the Paris of the America</a></em>.</p><p>Think of it as Lonely Planet circa 1892. The travel guide&rsquo;s anonymous author (likely <em>authors</em>) provides a detailed look at Chicago&rsquo;s architecture and entertainment options. It contains plenty of boosterism, but also some frank advice about avoiding con artists and adventuresses (women well-practiced in charming a man out of his wealth).</p><p>An <a href="http://archive.org/details/chicagobydaynigh00vynn" target="_blank">archive</a> of original text of <em>Chicago by Day and Night</em> is available online, but earlier this year Northwestern University Press <a href="http://chicagobydayandnight.com/" target="_blank">published a new version</a> edited by historians Paul Durica and Bill Savage.</p><p><a href="http://chicagobydayandnight.com/bios" target="_blank">These guys</a> know a thing or two about Chicago history and, as you can see in the video above, they&rsquo;re not opposed to donning period garb when it gets people geeked about the city&rsquo;s past. Durica is responsible for the <a href="http://pocketguidetohell.com/" target="_blank">Pocket Guide to Hell</a> historical reenactments and teaches at the University of Chicago. Savage is a senior lecturer at Northwestern University. The duo added a new introduction and notes to the 1892 text.</p><p>For the fullest time travel experience possible, we suggest curling up with some <a href="http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/patc/crackerjack/" target="_blank">Cracker Jack</a> and a <a href="http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/design/2012/11/where-did-pabst-win-that-blue-ribbon/" target="_blank">PBR</a> and reading this 1892 guide for Chicago tourists. Then spend an afternoon strolling through <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2004-07-02/features/0407020064_1_world-s-fair-science-and-industry-ferris-wheel" target="_blank">Jackson Park</a> and exploring the Field Museum&rsquo;s exhibit of about 1,000 of its <a href="http://archive.fieldmuseum.org/columbianexpo/introduction.asp" target="_blank">massive collection</a> of Exposition artifacts.</p><p>As you do, keep these facts in mind:</p><ul><li>Daily admission to the Fair cost 50 cents, which is the equivalent of the cost of a 3D movie <a href="http://www.westegg.com/inflation/" target="_blank">today</a> (about $12).</li><li>A ride on the Ferris wheel cost 50 cents.</li><li>A night in one of the city&rsquo;s finest hotels cost $5 (about $125 in <a href="http://www.westegg.com/inflation/" target="_blank">modern dollars</a>). In this era, the trendiest accommodations also offered something new to Chicago diners: a prix fixe menu.</li><li>The Fair spanned 686 acres. Disney&rsquo;s Magic Kingdom and Epcot could fit squarely inside.</li><li>Some of the performers in ethnic villages on the Midway got fed up with the Fair&rsquo;s rules, long hours and unreasonable demands. A group of Eskimos, for example, was required to wear traditional fur-lined garb during a Chicago summer. They opened their own shows outside the fairgrounds.</li><li>The massive crowds at the Fair made it a <a href="http://www.history.com/news/7-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-1893-chicago-worlds-fair" target="_blank">prime location for premiering and marketing new products</a>. Cracker Jack, Wrigley&rsquo;s Juicy Fruit gum and Cream of Wheat date back to this time.</li><li>Pabst won some awards for its beer at the Fair. But it didn&rsquo;t win a<em> blue</em> ribbon. Contemporary PBR fans ... you&rsquo;re drinking a <a href="http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/design/2012/11/where-did-pabst-win-that-blue-ribbon/" target="_blank">120-year-old lie</a>.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mashup_fair.PNG" style="float: left; height: 411px; width: 620px;" title="This mashup map shows how current attractions such as Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Epcot would fit neatly within the massive fairgrounds. (Courtesy of the Field Museum)" /></li></ul><p><em><a href="https://twitter.com/triciabobeda" target="_blank">Tricia Bobeda</a> and <a href="http://www.twitter.com/iamandrewgill" target="_blank">Andrew Gill</a> are WBEZ web producers.&nbsp;</em><em>Note: Tricia Bobeda assisted in the production of a website about </em>Chicago by Day and Night<em>.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 23 Oct 2013 15:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/your-ticket-white-city-108994 Sniffing for Chicago’s wild onion http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/sniffing-chicago%E2%80%99s-wild-onion-108281 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/topper.jpg" title="Chicago is named after a wild and smelly onion, of which could be any of these varieties: From left, nodding onion, wild leek/ramp and field garlic. They all still grow in the region in prairie land or forested preserves. " /></div><p>What&rsquo;s wild, smelly and leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Chicago.</p><p>Now, before you go grabbing for the pitchforks and torches, know that it&rsquo;s a joke &hellip; about wild onions, that is.</p><p>Yes, Chicago is named after a wild, smelly onion, one that &mdash; more than three centuries ago &mdash; grew in abundance at the mouth of the Chicago River. There were so many that when the first French settlers asked the local Indians what the area was called, they said, &ldquo;Chicagoua,&rdquo; a word for the wild bulb plant, according to Bruce Kraig, president of the Culinary Historians of Chicago.</p><p>Now, cement sidewalks and paved roads cover up the marshlands that once served as home to these onions.</p><p>Like many area residents, Doug Morris of Hinsdale had heard this story before. What he didn&rsquo;t know, though, was whether this was actual history, and he certainly didn&rsquo;t have any idea of what happened since then. So he asked Curious City: &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Does the wild onion for which Chicago got its name still grow in the region? And does it smell bad?</em></p><p>We decided that the only way to get to the bottom of this story was to actually find the wild onion for which Chicago is named. Speculation and hearsay were unacceptable. We needed to see the bulb with our own eyes.</p><p><strong>The search</strong></p><p>Morris, his daughter Libby and I met Doug Taron, curator of biology at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, at the Somme Prairie Nature Preserve in the center of Northbrook to look for wild onions.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/onion1.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Libby Morris, front, and her dad Doug Morris follow a trail through the Somme Prairie Nature Preserve in search of wild onions. Doug Morris sparked Curious City’s investigation by asking the question: Does the wild onion for which Chicago was named still grow in the region? (WBEZ/Chelsi Moy) " /></p><p>The thing we knew beforehand (and you should know now) is that onion are part of the allium family. There are many types of alliums, but through a process of elimination, historians and scientists can point to three kinds that grow in the region and which Chicago might be named. Narrowing it down further, however, poses a challenge. &nbsp;</p><p>The three kinds of onions in question include the nodding onion, the wild garlic and the wild leek. The latter is often referred to as the ramp. While it&rsquo;s debatable which onion is named after Chicago, many sources I spoke with for this story say it&rsquo;s the ramp.</p><p>During our excursion in the forest preserve, we were lucky enough to find all three species. The nodding onion was in bloom with it&rsquo;s pinkish-purple flowers beginning to open. The field garlic blooms in the spring and forms tiny bulblets on the tip of the blooming stalk.</p><p>The wild leek is also harvested in the spring.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/onion2.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Doug Taron with the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum leads a hunt for wild onions through a forest preserve in Northbrook. Chicago is named after a wild onion. Although, no one can say for sure which species of onion it is. (WBEZ/Chelsi Moy) " />On our recent outing, we found the wild leek in a shaded area surrounded by other dense vegetation. At the tip of the plant were starburst-shaped white flowers. These days, ramps are found in wooded areas and are one of the first &ldquo;greens&rdquo; to arrive come spring. It has wide green leaves and a garlic smell.</p><p><strong>The smell factor</strong></p><p>About that aroma. Is it fair to call the ramp stinky? Well, that&rsquo;s debatable.</p><p>&ldquo;It smells like green garlic,&rdquo; Kraig said. &ldquo;It smells pleasantly oniony or garlicky, but it&rsquo;s not overpowering. It smells like a green garlic field.&rdquo;</p><p>Despite the smell, ramps are a delicacy in many restaurants in and around Chicago. In fact, over the past five years the local green has become a culinary trend. Chefs such as John DuBois at Green Zebra &mdash; a contemporary vegetarian restaurant &mdash; look forward to their arrival each spring. It&rsquo;s one of the first &ldquo;greens&rdquo; that become available for harvest following the cold winter, he said. He describes it as having a part-garlic, part-oniony taste.</p><p>One way DuBois likes to use ramps is in making pesto. However, the chef and scientists I talked with say that ramps are tasty simply grilled on the BBQ.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Wild%20Onion02%20.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Chelsi Moy)" /></p><p><strong>Where can you find ramps?</strong></p><p>Green Zebra turns to urban forager Dave Odd, who says he harvests ramps sustainably from a private lot about 60 miles outside of Chicago.</p><p>It&rsquo;s important to note that while the forest preserves in Chicagoland are good places to locate ramps, you&rsquo;re not allowed to pick them &mdash; just as you&rsquo;re not allowed to pick anything there, in fact.</p><p>In the spring you can find ramps at some artisan or high-end grocery stores such as Whole Foods. Otherwise, Odd recommends you ask private property owners with land adjacent to forest preserves for permission to harvest. He says as far as harvesting goes, private property seems to be the only way to pick wild ramps consistently in the region.</p><p>However, Bill Burger, a curator emeritus of botany at the Field Museum, offers another suggestion: Don&rsquo;t pick at all.</p><p>&ldquo;The last thing we need to do is ask a couple million people to go out in the woods and add to their culinary delight,&rdquo; he said. &nbsp;&ldquo;Obviously if you pull them up to make a salad out of them then there won&#39;t be any flowers or fruits later on and that&#39;s a good way to send things bye-bye.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Wild%20Onion%20Recipes.jpg" title="" /></div><p><em>Chelsi Moy is a WBEZ intern for Curious City. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/chelsimoy">@chelsimoy</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 02 Aug 2013 19:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/sniffing-chicago%E2%80%99s-wild-onion-108281 Field Museum offering early retirement to some curators http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/field-museum-offering-early-retirement-some-curators-106359 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/flickr_allisonmeier.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago Field Museum is offering early retirement packages for some of its employees. The museum, best known for its research and Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex, is shouldering a heavy debt burden and has been trying to find ways to cut back.</p><p dir="ltr">Field Museum spokeswoman Nancy O&#39;Shea says the museum is offering retirement packages to more than half of its 27 curators. The 16 eligible employees were selected based on age and the length of their employment with the Field. They have until May 10 of this year to decide if they&#39;ll take the offer or not.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-12/cuts-field-museum-could-diminish-its-international-reputation-104487">The museum announced in December</a> that it was looking for ways to cut $5 million in costs, and boost endowment by $100 million. O&#39;Shea says they&#39;ve already identified ways to trim $2 million from their science initatives without cutting staff, but they&#39;re still looking for another million in cuts. This is the third time in the last five years that retirement incentive offers have been made to Field employees.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">The museum has said in the past they were also considering admission rate hikes as a possible revenue booster, but O&#39;Shea said she has nothing to announce on that topic.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><br /></p> Thu, 28 Mar 2013 13:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/field-museum-offering-early-retirement-some-curators-106359 Real life Django: Love’s struggles on the Underground Railroad http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/real-life-django-love%E2%80%99s-struggles-underground-railroad-105560 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/django%20unchained%20AP%20small.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="In Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained,’ freed slave Django, played by Jamie Fox, struggles to reunite with his wife, Broomhilda, played by Kerry Washington. (AP/Sony Pictures DAPD)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79402044&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>There&rsquo;s a lot about Quentin Tarantino&rsquo;s Oscar-nominated film <em>Django Unchained</em> that seems, true to the director&rsquo;s well-known dramatic tendencies, somewhat larger than life: The huge personas of do-gooder bounty hunter King Schultz and sadistic slave owner Calvin Candie, for example, or the caricaturist&rsquo;s rendering of the conniving head house slave, Stephen.&nbsp;</p><p>But one crucial element of the film&rsquo;s plot does seem to be drawn from real life: Django&rsquo;s struggle to reunite with his wife, Broomhilda, echoes the lengths slaves would really go to in order to stay with or be reunited with their loved ones.</p><p>Author Betty DeRamus uncovered countless stories of slavery-era couples struggling to be together in the face of incredible adversity while researching her book, <em>Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories from the Underground Railroad</em>. &ldquo;Some of them are black couples, some of them are a free black person with a slave mate, and a few of them are interracial couples,&rdquo; DeRamus said. &ldquo;But they all have one thing in common: All went to extraordinary lengths to avoid being separated.&rdquo;</p><p>There was Joseph Antoine, for example, a free black man from Cuba who chose of life of indentured servitude in order to stay with his wife<strong>. &ldquo;</strong>In the process of working on that [story],&rdquo; DeRamus said, &ldquo;I discovered there were quite a few black Virginians who were willing to surrender freedom because they said the price of freedom was too high; if it meant leaving their families, they&rsquo;d rather not have it. And I had never heard that before.&rdquo;</p><p>Then there was Isaac Berry, the Missouri slave in love with his white neighbor&rsquo;s daughter, Lucy. Berry&rsquo;s owner wanted to sell him to pay off gambling debts, but Berry escaped across the Mississippi River into Illinois, then traveled to Indiana, Michigan, and finally across the Detroit River to Windsor, Canada. Lucy, meanwhile, took the money her family had saved for boarding school and instead bought a train ticket to Detroit, and waited there to meet her beau.</p><p>&ldquo;Remember, there were no cell phones, no Internet, no mass communication of any kind,&rdquo; DeRamus said of this incident, pointing out the extreme difficulty of setting up such a daring and far off rendezvous. &ldquo;One of the most extraordinary things about these couples is the faith that they had. . . that somehow things were going to work out.&rdquo;</p><p>Perhaps the most remarkable story in DeRamus&rsquo; collection is that of John Little, a slave who carried his unconscious wife to freedom on his whip-scarred back. You can hear DeRamus read her account of John Little and his wife in the audio above.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range"><em>Dynamic Range</em></a>&nbsp;<em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from</em>&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/chicago-amplified/a-conversation-with-u-s"><em>Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s</em></a>&nbsp;<em>vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Betty DeRamus spoke at an event presented by The Field Museum in February of 2006. Click</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/forbidden-fruit-love-stories-underground-railroad"><em>here</em></a><em>&nbsp;to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p><p><em>Follow Robin Amer on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/rsamer">@rsamer</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Sat, 16 Feb 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/real-life-django-love%E2%80%99s-struggles-underground-railroad-105560 Cuts at the Field Museum could 'diminish' its international reputation http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-12/cuts-field-museum-could-diminish-its-international-reputation-104487 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/5082484946_06749913b6_z.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="The Field Museum's scientific research staff drive its international reputation (flickr/perosha)" /></p><p><em>Updated: 5 p.m.</em></p><p> <iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F71883732"></iframe> Chicago&rsquo;s Field Museum is proposing a significant reduction in its re-operating budget, citing a hefty debt load. That could mean higher prices for patrons.</p><p>The museum hopes to reduce costs by $5 million and organize its scientific research wing, from academic departments like anthropology and zoology to more generic fields of study such as &quot;museum exhibitions.&quot;</p><p>Field President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Lariviere said the museum is feeling the effects of the recession just like any other business or institution. He said administrators will talk with scientists and curators about how to balance the budget.</p><p>&quot;The Field Museum is in really reasonably good shape,&quot; he said. &quot;What we&#39;re trying to do is protect the future of this place by right-sizing ourselves at this moment to balance our budget, get things under control, so that we can ensure that the future includes the same kind of high quality, world-shaping research and discovery that it has in the past.&quot;</p><p>Lariviere said the museum&#39;s current structure is a &quot;vestige&quot; of university organization dating back to the 1930s and 1940s. For instance, the department of geology contains paleontologists, but no geologists.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s really not a rational structure,&quot; he said. &quot;It certainly doesn&#39;t reflect the interdisciplinary nature and the creativity of the science that goes on here.&quot;</p><p>He said that makes it harder to explain to the public about the science and research going on behind the scenes.</p><p>More than 1 million people visit the museum every year, to see blockbuster shows and the Field&#39;s&nbsp;prized possession, a Tyrannosaurus rex named Sue. But the Field&#39;s global reputation comes from its cutting-edge scientific research and conservation effects.</p><p>&quot;Behind the scenes, there is essentially a non-degree granting university that has scientists of all different stripes who travel around the world and make collections and study species and cultures and artifacts,&quot; said Neil Shubin, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago and the former provost of the Field.</p><p>Shubin says the budget cuts and proposed reorganization mean staff cuts. And those will diminish the museum&rsquo;s reputation.</p><p><strong>&quot;</strong>Anytime you see a reorganization like this, it means large staff reductions. I see no way that they can continue the breadth of the research profile that has been one of their, you know, one of the legs of their eminence,&quot; Shubin said.</p><p>The Field says it will develop a new operating plan over the next six months.</p><p><em>An earlier version of this story referred to Sue as a &quot;life-sized model&quot; of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. But Sue&#39;s the real deal!</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 19 Dec 2012 15:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-12/cuts-field-museum-could-diminish-its-international-reputation-104487 Field Museum cutting staff, overhauling operations http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/field-museum-cutting-staff-overhauling-operations-104468 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/fieldmuseum.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F71883732" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Chicago&#39;s renowned Field Museum, a major center of global scientific research, has announced plans to cut staff, overhaul operations and limit the scope of its research because of a high debt load and the recession.</p><p>The natural history museum might also change hours of operation and raise admission prices for special exhibits at one of the city&#39;s best-known cultural attractions, museum officials said Tuesday.</p><p>The Field Museum is known for its research into plants and animals and impressive collections, including Sue, the world&#39;s largest and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex.</p><p>The Field&#39;s cost-cutting measures will be an opportunity to refocus the mission of the museum, which was founded in 1893, officials said.</p><p>They hope to cut $5 million in costs and increase the museum&#39;s endowment by $100 million. Museum staff and board members will work on a plan between now and July 1.</p><p>The staff cuts will be aimed at curators and scientists. The museum will also focus more on its own collections and be more selective in choosing outside exhibits that cost more money to organize.</p><p>&quot;If we wrestle these issues to the ground successfully, our future is rosy,&quot; the Field&#39;s president and CEO, Richard Lariviere, told the Chicago Tribune&#39;s editorial board.</p><p>Lariviere, the former University of Oregon president, started work at the museum in October.</p><p>Lariviere said the museum has more $170 million in outstanding bonds. He called that &quot;very high&quot; compared with the institution&#39;s $300 million endowment. The bonds cost the Field more than $7 million a year, taking a bite out of an operating budget of less than $70 million.</p><p>&quot;Our credit cards are maxed out,&quot; Lariviere told the Tribune.</p><p>The Field Museum is one of Chicago&#39;s top tourist attractions, drawing 1.3 million visitors in 2011.</p><p>The cost-cutting plan follows earlier attempts to trim $5 million, also primarily through staff cuts. But rising bond debt and operating deficits over the past decade have combined with flat revenues and dwindling government subsidies to put a financial squeeze on the institution.</p><p>Despite the possible hike in ticket prices, Lariviere said the average patron shouldn&#39;t notice much of a change in the short term.</p></p> Wed, 19 Dec 2012 10:12:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/field-museum-cutting-staff-overhauling-operations-104468