If you want to learn more about the legacy of Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable, how to pursue STEM careers, and more, you’ll want to join the Field Museum’s virtual Black History Month celebration starting tomorrow, February 1st.
Black History Month will kick off at the Field Museum with a variety of online programming including these discussions. February also marks the last few weeks of the groundbreaking exhibition about the Field’s first Black taxidermist, Carl Cotton, before it closes in March.
“Black history at the Field will be celebrated virtually again this year,” says Reda Brooks, the Budget Administrator in the Museum’s Exhibitions department and coordinator for Black History Month. “Viewers can look forward to two intriguing conversations on the intersection of African, Native, and Mexican American cultures in Chicago and throughout U.S. history.
“And Black in STEM is back for the second year featuring BIPOC science professionals that will inspire adults and especially our youth to pursue their interest in careers and organizations that can help them become future researchers, conservationists, and discoverers,” Brooks says.
Visitors to the Museum can see A Natural Talent: The Taxidermy of Carl Cotton exhibition until it closes on March 6. The show is the Museum’s longest-running temporary exhibit and opened in January 2020.
“The Carl Cotton exhibit started with a single black-and-white photo,” says Tori Lee, the exhibition’s developer. “For almost three years, the project grew and grew—shaped by the passion of people in and out of the Museum—until Carl’s story took on a life of its own. As A Natural Talent comes to a close, I’m grateful to all who worked on this project and everyone inspired by his life. It’s been one of the best experiences of my career. What a way to kick off our Black History Month celebrations at the Field Museum; I can’t wait to see what we do next!”
All online events are free, available for replay, and open to the public through various media platforms. Follow the Museum on social media to stay updated with event information. For more programming details and where required, attendees can register for events at fieldmuseum.org/blackhistorymonth.
Schedule of events
Feb. 1 – 12 p.m. – In partnership with the DuSable Museum of African American History, we’ll discuss DuSable’s journey from Haiti to the Great Plains and how he became the first permanent non-Indigenous settler in Illinois.
Feb. 2 and 23 – 2:30 – 3 p.m. Meet a Museum Insider – Meet our staff members through live online conversations, including Foreman Bandama, the Field’s new Assistant Curator of African Anthropology, and Darlene Dowdy Pritchett, Collections Assistant in the botany collection.
Feb. 9, 16, and 21 – 12 p.m. – The A. Watson Armour Seminar Series via Zoom, pre-registration is required for each session. This series features Black in STEM guest speakers. Educators, students, and science professionals will share their career paths and discuss the challenges and importance of BIPOC representation in the sciences.
On the days when the Museum is open, guests can visit Africa, A Natural Talent: The Taxidermy of Carl Cotton, and Looking at Ourselves: Rethinking the Sculptures of Malvina Hoffman. Visitors interested in seeing exhibitions in person are encouraged to purchase tickets online. The above shows are included with basic admission. Basic admission to the Field is free on Wednesdays in February. On Free Days, Illinois residents can only redeem free passes or discounted tickets in person. Proof of residency is required.
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