IÂ can’t rememberÂ ever not having a huge crush onÂ science. As aÂ kid I loved dinosaurs, sea creaturesÂ and the like but once I got older, evolution, anthropology, and biology somehow became more relevant to myÂ Â grown-up self. Maybe it had to do with an appreciationÂ of my mortality as I began to wrap my brain around the vast concept ofÂ planet Earth.
I’m lucky to live in a city with a world class museum in honor of everything natural.Â The Field Museum of natural history sits handsomely on the Chicago lakefront and is a jewel in the study and exhibition of the natural and anthropological sciences. Â Recently I was invited by the Field to photograph Emily Graslie, the Chief Curiosity Correspondent of the Field Museum for Cosmopolitan. Emily is a former art student turned self styled science correspondent andÂ Â host of the popular YouTube channel, The Brain Scoop about animals and the function of their [dead] bodies. She’s on staff with the communications department at the Field Museum.
I was fortunate that Â morningÂ to sample parts of the museum that visitors almost neverÂ gets to see. Â Only ~Â 1% of the Field’s specimensÂ are on display. The rest of it is in storage or being used in study. As we wandered the maze of hallways and rooms, in no short supply were victorian storage cabinets of all sized filled with say, the skeletal remains of Â birds. OrangutansÂ and water buffalo bones hung seemingly discarded in Â hallways. Spider collections, and jars and jars of all too recognizable preserved animals from generations ago sit on rows of shelves. Â The Field is a living museum. Imagine if the Met could have Edgar DegasÂ live-painting ballerinas in the basementâthe collection is constantly being added to, documented and prepared right on site.
One of the most fascinating places I photographed in was the egg room where thousands of eggs, some tiny enough to fit in a thimble lived adjacent to ostrich eggs so Â dense and heavy Â you’d think they were made from porcelain. Â Emily toured me from department to department dropping little pearls of wisdom about the collection and the animals we got to touch and smell.
Read the published story here at Cosmopolitan.comÂ