Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why The Field's Genghis Khan Exhibit Flopped #Chicago

I am about to do something I never thought I would do. I am going to recommend that you save your money and do not pay to go see the newest exhibit at the Field Museum, Genghis Khan. That hurt, but I stand by it. 

I love the Field Museum. Not only is it my favorite of all museums, but it is my favorite place in Chicago. I could live there.  And I have been to countless special exhibitions hosted by The Field, there are actually very few that I have missed since early childhood.

So Genghis Khan was the latest special exhibit, it is running till September of this year-- and taking up a lot of space that could be put to much better use. I am in no way saying that a trip to the Field Museum in Chicago is not worth it, because it is. I am just saying that the Genghis Khan exhibit is not worth the additional entrance ticket because it was not up to par with what the Field is capable of offering. 

Specifics? The following is entirely my own opinion, but I talked to my entire family and random people that shared their opinions out loud and were willing to talk about them with a complete stranger, and they all agreed with everything I am about to share. 
  • The exhibit was seriously dumbed down. I understand a museum's need to be friendly for all ages, but this was early grade school friendly and it left anyone older than 10 wanting more.
  • There was a lack of stuff. When you go to see this exhibits, you go to see the stuff, and there was barely any stuff.
  • Oddly enough, the stuff that was there was not clearly marked. It was almost like whoever set up the exhibit was a first timer. Usually, The Field (and every other museum), will number the items and then have corresponding tags so that you can easily tell what it what. Because of the lack of stuff you could guess what was what and get it right half of the time, but the other half of the time you were left wondering in what order things were named- back to front, front to back, top to bottom, diagonally, parallel, mish mash. 
  • 75% of the exhibit was wall graphics, television interviews or dramatizations, and large text descriptions. 
  • They set up several television sets with short clips, considering how little was in the exhibit these actually ended up being a substantial part of it. That being noted, the volume on each set was turned down to the lowest setting so that you could not hear anything over the buzz in the room unless you got right up in front of it-- blocking other people's view, which happened a lot.  
Basically, the exhibit was lacking and 90% of the exhibit was stuff I and anyone else could have, and did, read about on Wikipedia, the encyclopedia or in a book. They basically just took those blurbs and put them on graphic art wall clings for you to read-- ironically this is usually the part that is gleaned over by 90% of the attendees at a great exhibit, but instead had a huge crowd congregating over in order to feel like it wasn't an entire waste of money.        

To be honest, we did not spend a lot on the tickets, but that was because Missy purchased a family pass to the museum for the year. Our family has had a pass for just about every year for as long as I can remember because it makes sense when you want to see the big exhibits like this one. Even though we went to see Genghis Khan a couple weeks ago, we are going to try and get back this week in order to catch the special mummy exhibit before its packed away into the museum coffers again. 

To see more information about The Field Museum visit,