Chicago Secrets: The Field Museum’s Hush-Hush Rental Program AKA the Harris Loan Center (Exposed!)


Museums, in addition to being large publicly funded institutions which are open to the public for educational purposes but which often require an annual membership or nominal daily fee, are places where ANYTHING can happen!  Artifacts are collected for crying out loud!  From around the world!!  From remote areas!!!  Watch it because the exclamation points are really flying now!!!!!!*

Those of us who were regaled by the adventures of Indiana Jones know this already.  While we’re on the topic, I love the scene in the original (numero uno) where the good doctor (played by Hollywood Everyman Harrison Ford) is confronted with those dastardly swordsmen, and he, cool as a cucumber chillin’ on ice, takes out his pistol and takes care of the problem (as if the entire film’s premise weren’t blatant enough, the scene’s obvious pro-colonial propaganda should give one pause before rewinding to watch it again).

So I was excited when former Open House star Maribeth invited me to visit the Field Museum shop.  Things were going along splendidly enough – you’ll see more about that later this week – when Maribeth slipped and revealed a secret that was so . . . well, I promised not to say anything.

Continued . . .


To calm Maribeth down, I swore up and down I would never breath a word of it.  And I never will.  What?  Why are you looking at me like that?  Oh man . . . I can’t (I promised Maribeth) . . . She might get in trouble . . . OK I’ll spill . . . but you didn’t hear it here.  So there’s a department, so secret it has an official name and website (the Harris Loan Center), which is located deep in the Museum’s bowels and filled with taxidermy.  But unlike taxidermy which is unavailable to be checked out, this taxidermy is available to be checked out.  CRAZY!  Like a fox.  Literally, they have everything.  You just pay a one-time fee (no, it’s not one million dollars) and you can take the little critters home with you.

So that dear friends is my decorating tip of the day.  Spruce up your room, for a party or for daily living, with one of the Harris Loan Center’s check-out-able taxidermy pieces.  I checked out Sue+

Field Museum.  312-922-9410

*  How do you feel about exclamation points (!)?  I make myself use them because I recognize the function they serve particularly in an e-mail.

Hi Bill.

Hi Bill!

See.  I’d rather somebody say, “Hi Tate!” than “Hi Tate.”  But I also think exclamation points seem kind of artificially enthusiastic.  There needs to be something in between the period and the exclamation point.  Something like + at the end of a sentence conveys a general friendliness.  Not Hello.  Not hey.  Hi.

Hi Bill.

Hi Bill+

Hi Bill!

Do you find yourself thinking about punctuation:  Do you want to solve the vexing issue we face punctuating!  Get it.




I hate my reflection sometimes.





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6 Responses to “Chicago Secrets: The Field Museum’s Hush-Hush Rental Program AKA the Harris Loan Center (Exposed!)”

  1. I am so renting that opossum for my next party. I wonder if animals considered ‘varmints’ are cheaper than say….an ocelot or an ibex. I bet in addition to the one-time sign up fee that they require signing over the rights to your first-born child if something untoward happens to the taxidermy rental at your party. Strange things happen at parties.

  2. gives a whole new meaning to getting stiff

  3. This week’s New City mentions taxidermy as the next big thing in art. You are on the cutting edge, I guess.

  4. So . . . that scene in Indiana Jones? Unscripted.

    From IMDb:”The infamous scene in which Indy shoots a marauding and flamboyant swordsman was not in the original script. Harrison Ford was supposed to use his whip to get the swords out of his attacker’s hands, but the food poisoning he and the rest of the crew had gotten made him too sick to perform the stunt. After several unsuccessful tries, someone made the off-handed remark, “Why doesn’t he just shoot him and get it done and over with?” Steven Spielberg immediately took up the idea and the scene was successfully filmed.”

    Still think it’s propaganda for colonialism?

  5. Tasha, Harry Ford is a notorious colonialist. J/K. Actually I think the concept of a single white guy disarming an entire group of native swordsmen with his whip is even more colonial, but of course I might be wrong. Please be advised that maybe 80% of my posts are complete B.S.

  6. Can you imagine spending a week just going through all of their artifacts, photos, documents and who knows what else? I would pay a handsome sum just to get a tour of the millions of items that are stored. I love not just the taxidermy but the landscape paintings behind the animals. What about the costumes and jewels? Tate!!!!!!! Can you get us some borrowed jewels? That’s what I want to know.