This Week: The Field Museum Shop


Two days ago, a mere 48 hours, I exposed the Field Museum’s unintentional secret, a secret that can only be called the Harris Loan Center because like most of us, the Harris Loan Center has just one name . . . three if, defying convention, you count Harris, Loan and Center as three separate names, but one if you consider the three words that make up its name to be beautiful bits of information but otherwise incomplete components of its actual name, the Harris Loan Center.   In fact, it’s full name isn’t the Harris Loan Center but the Harris Educational Loan Center.  No, you stop it!

But it wasn’t the Harris Educational Loan Center that brought me to the Field Museum, but a friendly invitation by former Open House star and new friend Maribeth, a creative genius in the Museum’s terrific shop.  I was surprised that the Museum carries an extensive selection of authentic artifacts and a very cool product mix (most available online).

Director Jeri Webb was kind enough to provide some information about these products via email, and I found copying and pasting so much easier than writing that I’ve decided to rely on them exclusively for the remainder of this post.  Don’t worry; I’ve stripped out anything that seemed educational (this is a design blog (sort of), and I don’t want you to accidentally learn something about nature).


Maribeth liked this stuffed rooster so much she keeps one on her desk


These stuffed animals are perfect for those who love taxidermy but feel a bit creeped out by it (as they eat their burgers)


Did you hear the one about the camel and the anubis? The canine-headed Anubis is credited with inventing mummification. The anubis, which has the best animal name (EVER) was the guardian of the Necropolis, protecting the deceased from evil spirits.


Don't you think I should be a nature photographer for National Geographic?


Their eyes were all closed until I snapped the first photo . . . so that was scary


George Pooley Hopi Kachinas-George's work is very traditional, and very affordable. The Hopi people believe in spirits called katsina (also variously spelled kachina), which represent the elements of nature. Hopi men carve katsina dolls most often from cottonwood as teaching tools for children to learn about the different types of katsina spirits


Balinese butterfly kite--these are working kites which are flown by children on the beaches in Bali. Doesn't this butterfly make you feel free?



An assortment of kachinas displayed in our kid's tepee


Indonesian shadow puppets with a late 19th century lady's slipper chair from China


A primitive listening device


Really amazing metal work from Mexico (animal sculptures formed from recycled wire and tree of life wall sculptures--very detailed wonderful animals)


Chinese puppet heads with working eyes


Every Museum shop needs a little kitsch


Traditional carvings from the wood of the copal tree, painstakingly painted with fabulous patterns and colors


African mud cloth shawls and scarves. This fabric is very hot now


The forecourt area of our 6,000 square foot main store at the Museum. The space was designed by Charles Sparks Company


Mexican sombreros and Day of the Dead accessories and T-shirts from our Aztecs exhibition market place


Off the top of my head (and copying an email from Director Jeri Webb), I believe these are Embera masks from the Panamanian rain forest. The Embera people inhabit remote villages in the Panamanian rainforest near the Columbian border. Shamans use traditional masks in healing rituals and before hunts to ensure good luck. The masks are made from two types of palm, using both sewing and knotting techniques. Each mask is one-of-a-kind and highly prized for its intricacy and creativity of design.


African masks from Mali and Burkina Faso

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3 Responses to “This Week: The Field Museum Shop”

  1. Wow ! No wonder they wanted you to see their store, it’s really amazing. 6000 square feet !

  2. I love your website – subscribed. Now that I’ve got a penthouse apartment (with working fireplace) right in the heart of Midtown Manhatten. You have to come to visit….

  3. Jan, yes it is an amazing store. Thank you for your comment.

    Glenn, I only have one thing to say; it’s about time.