‘Specimens’ goes behind the scenes of Chicago’s Field Museum | Science News

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‘Specimens’ goes behind the scenes of Chicago’s Field Museum

New exhibit highlights key role of collections in scientific research

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7:00am, April 3, 2017
butterflies on display

COLLECTORS' ITEMS  A new exhibit at the Field Museum puts seldom-seen collections on display, including these butterflies, to spotlight their role in science.

Most visitors to a large natural history museum don’t know it, but they are only scratching the surface of the museum’s holdings, even if they check out every exhibition. Most of the scientific treasures are tucked away in collection rooms filled with millions of specimens, which scientists use in their research.

The Field Museum in Chicago, home to Sue, the famous T. rex, is displaying some of its secreted goodies in its new exhibit “Specimens: Unlocking the Secrets of Life.” The museum has more than 30 million biological specimens, mummies, minerals, cultural artifacts and other objects in its collections. At any one time, only 0.5 to 1.5 percent of the holdings are on display. For the new exhibit, curators brought out about 5,600 additional items — from preserved deep-sea creatures and fossilized brains to meteorites — to show the

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