Thursday, March 25, 2010

Natural History

This year for Christmas, each child (except Giles) got his or her own special slice of Chicago as their gift. Set for late March, so we just did it.

We started out accommodating Felix--at the world-class Field Museum of Natural History, of course.

What a treat to be in a space designed solely for dignity, beauty, and knowledge. And I adored the displays that hadn't been modernized yet, that still had their vintage cut-out letters on pegboard displays. Lots of olive green, too.

We got Felix squared away (I'll show you in a second) and took off on our own. Notable here: Daisy's current fascination and simultaneous horror with snakes. Indulged here with some mighty pythons and pit vipers.

When it was time for the mammals, she asked with some concern: "Will there be humans?" No.

Meanwhile, Felix was UPSTAIRS IN THE BIRD SPECIMEN ARCHIVES. For two whole days, with camera, sketchbook, and pen. And complete freedom to browse the thousands of preserved birds in the archives. With a pass on his shirt.

Maybe not my cup of tea, or yours, but it was the Bird Student's heaven.

And they let you in the Pearly Gates just by asking ahead of time.


Everly Pleasant said...

I can't wait to see what the other children are going do! Home-school rocks! :)


Tessa said...

Wow! How neat!!

YayaOrchid said...

Sounds like a fascinating and fun trip for all! I love birds too!

contentedsparrow said...

Oh, how wonderful for you all and especially for Felix! I hope you enjoyed the rest of your visit to the Windy City (my hometown). Have a beautiful weekend.
Blessings to you, Megan

Lucille said...

Yes museums have changed beyond all recognition. I find it hard to concentrate in them now they are so interactive. With the same reservations about the slightly grim displays, I am also grateful that our local museum has preserved some of the old fashioned mahogany cabinets and dioramas.

Anonymous said...

It really is amazing how accommodating museums and other research facilities can be when you ask. I was always so thankful at how, while in graduate school, making plans ahead and just *asking* could open doors for me. I don't think I would have been able to finish my thesis without the generous help I got from simply saying a prayer and taking a chance that people would let me in. This post absolutely delighted me!

I'm so pleased that Felix was able to get this time with the all of the specimen and able to photograph and draw the birds. How wonderful! As always, you inspire me! I'm glad you all had a safe trip. Daisy's comment was absolutely precious!

Your Friend in Christ,

Robin said...

Well, the dead birds are a little disturbing but after our trip to the British Museum with the preserved "tar man" they seem minor in comparison. Museums do some strange things for the sake of study!

Shelley said...

I love Chicago - discovered it just this past year for the first time. I love the architecture there and I normally love museums. But not dead things. I can see why Felix would love the bird collection. I'm in heaven at the needlework section of the V&A in London. But not dead things. Brilliant that Daisy knows about humans and mammals.

JR said...

Maybe not your cup of tea (frankly, birds aren't my thing either), but as a zoology student, I was thrilled to have access to our university's mammal collection. We took a tour of the archives in class one day and I got to meet a guy who had appeared on Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. I also got to see a lot of poached pelts--ever wonder what they do with all the stuff they confiscate at the border and at airports? :) To be able to access the archives at the Field is excellent. Hoorah for Felix!

Laura {{* *}} said...


about the creation
comes in the most wonderful places
igniting fires
in big & little hearts & minds.

It is precious
that you walked this time

{{* *}}

Very Verdant said...

We took our children through Chicago as part of our studies last year. We so enjoyed the Museum of Natural History. I look forward to seeing all the wonderful places your studies take you.

walklet said...

I hope you say next that you visited Wheaton College and saw the Wade Center, Wooly Mammoth and Billy Graham Center!

Peggy said...

My favorite museum in the whole wide world... I miss birding in the Midwest, although here last week we had a whole flock of Cedar waxwings move through. It was awesome.
-Peggy in Round Rock, TX

Kathy said...

You do such wonderful things with your children! What remarkable parents you are, and how blessed are your children! Can't wait to see the rest of the things you did!

Rose said...

I'm doing a Daisy-about-snakes about the dead birds == but I can understand that, for Felix, it would be brilliant.

Chuck Berwick said...

Did Felix come out to eat or did you leave bread and water outside the door for him? Sally

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