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Museum Archives Collections

Museum Archives

The Field Museum Archives maintains the administrative and historical records of the Field Museum, provides access to materials, and,  is a resource for the study of science, culture, and museum development.

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The Field Museum Archives maintains the administrative and historical records of the Field Museum, provides access to materials, and,  is a resource for the study of science, culture, and museum development.

Archival Materials - Our collections include 1,800 feet of records – these records document the Museum's expedition activities to many continents, the history of the Field Museum, and the history and practice of science.  The archives’ collections document fieldwork as well as the administrative and collections history of the Field Museum. Archival organization reflects the museum’s curatorial and administrative divisions. Additional detailed informaton on paper records and manuscripts can found in Museum Archives Resources.

Films - Thanks to the generosity of the Internet Archive, many films of the archives' collection of films are available online. The Film collection includes documentary footage of  expedition travels to Malaysia, Angola, Nigeria, the Caribbean, Guatemala, Egypt, Iran, the Arctic, Central America, and Ethiopia among others. A number of films also document museum practices in diorama and model building. While we encourage the use and re-use of our films for creative purposes, please note that the museum archives holds copyright to this content. To protect your interests, please be sure to contact the archives so that we can grant permission for the re-use of these films.

Access - Promoting and assisting scholars and students in their research and educational activities is a fundamental commitment of the Field  Museum.  This assistance includes open access to non-restricted records and discounted rates for duplication services.  There are, however, restricted materials in our archives which may require prior permission from the office of record  or a curator before use is permitted. Archives staff may restrict materials due to reasons of copyright law, preservation consideration, or donor agreements. Our images have been used in scholarly articles, textbooks, documentary films, and art projects, among other uses. We encourage inquiries about the scope of our image collections and their use in scholarly, artistic or commercial work. Although we do not yet have a public database of our entire collection, we are happy to provide reference consultation regarding the scope and contents of our collections either in person or remotely. See Musuem Archives Policies to plan your visit.

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Collections

Berthold Laufer (1874-1934), curator of Asian Anthropology from 1908 to 1934, was a pioneer in the study of Asian cultures.  During his tenure at The Field Museum he made significant contributions to the collections of both Anthropology and the Library.
The Moving Image Collection documents the museum’s involvement in scientific explorations, experiences with other cultures, and public education.