Chicago Guest House's Guide to Museum Campus Fun Facts!

Chicago’s amazing Museum Campus houses three of the city’s leading institutions all in one place. Spend a day exploring the underwater world of aquatic animals at the Shedd Aquarium, a dramatic history of the natural world at The Field Museum, and the far-out galaxies of space at the Adler Planetarium.  These three museums are fascinating, but learning the history behind the people and the money that made them happen is pretty fancinating too.  Here are some of the things they never tell you!
The Field Museum Then and Now....
Originally the Columbian Museum of Chicago.  Its collections originated from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World Fair which celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World. ​
exterior of the Field Museum in Chicago
Sue the dinosaur at the Field Museum in Chicago
Plan Your Visit to The Field Museum
In order to house the exhibits future generations, Edward Ayer convinced the merchant Marshall Field to fund the establishment of a museum. In 1905, the museum's name was changed from Columbian Museum of Chicago to Field Museum of Natural History to honor its first major benefactor, Marshall Field. 
Field Museum Muse in Stanley Hall representing science
Field Museum Muse in Stanley Hall representing research
In 1915 the museum was moved to it's current location at Museum campus---prior to the move it occupied the space where the Museum of Science and Industry currently is---the ONLY building still standing from the World Fair. Construction of the new museum took almost six years to complete and cost approximately $7,000,000. (today $172,566,800)---the foundation alone took one year and extends down 95ft in some places. When it was first constructed, the building was made of 350,000 cubic feet of white Georgia marble and covered 20 acres of floor space. On May 2, 1921, the Field Museum was reopened to the public. Since that time, many additions have been made. Currently the Museum’s exhibition space occupies over 480,000 square feet.  Stanley Field Hall itself accounts for a half an acre of floor space and is comprised of 300 million year old fossilized limestone. Located at each corner of Stanley Field Hall, the four muses depict the purposes for which The Field Museum was founded--knowledge, records, science and research.
Field Museum Muse in Stanley Hall representing records
Field Museum Muse in Stanley Hall Dissemination of Knowledge
Dissemination of Knowledge
Picture of Marshall Field
Marshall Field
August,1834 –January,1906
An American entrepreneur and the founder of Marshall Field and Company, the Chicago-based department store.  Considered the richest and most powerful businessmen in Chicago at that time.
The quotes "Give the lady what she wants" and "The customer is always right" are attributed to Field.
The Field Museum of Natural History was named after him in 1894 after he gave it an endowment of one million dollars.  Field was initially reluctant to do so, reportedly saying "I don't know anything about a museum and I don't care to know anything about a museum. I'm not going to give you a million dollars." Today that million dollars would equate to $25,612,859.88!!!!  He later relented after railroad supplies magnate Edward E. Ayer, another early benefactor (and later first president) of the museum, convinced Field that his everlasting legacy would be achieved by financing the project. The year after his death the Field Museum received a further $8,000,000 in accordance with his will.
View of the city from the Adler Planetarium in Chicago
Adler Planetarium  | Founded in 1930
Max Adler (May 12, 1866 – November 4, 1952) was born in Elgin, Illinois to a German Jewish family who emigrated to America in about 1850. As an adult he was a concert violinist in Chicago before he gave up music to become a vice president at Sears Roebuck & Co. after marrying into the family that controlled the company. His wife was Sophie Rosenwald, sister of Julius Rosenwald, who founded Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.  
In 1923, Oskar von Miller of the Deutsches Museum commissioned the Carl Zeiss Works to design a mechanism that projects an image of celestial bodies onto a dome. This was achieved by Walther Bauersfeld and the invention became known as a planetarium when it debuted the next year. Its popularity quickly spread, and by 1929, there were fifteen in Germany, two in Italy, one in Russia, and one in Austria.
In 1928, Max Adler,  retired from Sears, Roebuck & Co. in Chicago to focus on philanthropic endeavors, primarily on behalf of the local musical and Jewish communities. However, after listening to a friend describe a Munich planetarium, Adler decided that a planetarium would fit in well within the emerging Museum Campus in Chicago. Adler offered $500,000 in 1928 for the construction of the first planetarium in the Western Hemisphere that now bears his name.    SIDE NOTE: It is here that you will find the BEST view of Chicago's Skyline anywhere in the city! 
Plan Your Visit to The Adler Planetarium
Adler Planetarium in Chicago
Adler Planetarium in Chicago
John G. Shedd Aquarium
diver with fish at Shedd Aquarium
​​Although Shedd only lived long enough to see the architect's first drawings for the aquarium, his widow, Mary R. Shedd, cut the ribbon at the official opening ceremony.  The aquarium cost $3,000,000 to build in 1927. If that were 2018 it would be $43,000,000!!!! That’s a nice gift! In 1930, 20 railroad tank cars made eight round trips between Key West and Chicago to transport 1,000,000 US gallons (3,800,000 l) of seawater for the Shedd's saltwater exhibits.
Plan Your Visit to John G. Shedd Aquarium
Picture of John Graves Shedd
John Graves Shedd
July,1850 – October 1926
Shedd arrived in Chicago in 1871 and began working as a stock clerk for Marshall Field. By 1901, he had worked his way up to a vice-presidency and took over as president upon Field's death in 1906. Field himself described Shedd as "the greatest merchant in the United States," and, indeed, under Shedd's presidency Marshall Field & Company became the largest store in Chicago and the largest wholesale and dry goods company in the world.
​​Shedd was a civic leader and founding member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, which continues to play an active role in the city's efforts to maintain itself as a world-class metropolis. One of the Commercial Club's most notable undertakings was the sponsorship of Edward Bennett and Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago, which was released in 1909 and which to this day is considered to be one of the most important urban planning documents ever created.  One of Chicago's major philanthropists, he contributed extensively to Chicago charities, universities and museums, and in the early 1920s he provided $3 million to build Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. Completed in 1930, the Shedd Aquarium remained the world's largest aquarium for most of the century.
 Edward Bennett and Daniel Burnham's 
Plan of Chicago
​​Released in 1909 and which to this day is considered to be one of the most important urban planning documents ever created. Foremost among the plan's goals was reclaiming the lakefront for the public. “The Lakefront by right belongs to the people," wrote Burnham. "Not a foot of its shores should be appropriated to the exclusion of the people.” Of the city's 29 miles of lakefront, all but four miles are today public parkland.