* Isabelle Burtan studied museum collections as an archaeology and anthropology major at Harvard
* Learn about how museums obtain, organize and display objects from other people and cultures
* Discover fun facts, weird histories and ghost stories on a walking tour of The Field Museum
When a museum opens a new exhibit, most of their work has been done. What the public sees is a carefully curated display with every detail in place, staged for optimal viewing. But what we’ve missed are the months, if not years, of decisions, negotiations and occasional dramas that occur behind the scenes.
Isabelle Burtan became fascinated by the secret side of museums as a student. The Chicago native studied archaeology and social anthropology at Harvard, focusing her research on the hidden histories and silenced voices of museum collections, and interned with the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Today, Isabelle remains a fan of all that is weird and bizarre, with a passion for sharing stories and fun facts.
As you tour The Field Museum with Isabelle, she’ll demonstrate the history and legalities of how museums collect art and represent other cultures. She’ll also divulge interesting tidbits about The Field, like how it got its name (a story that involves a World’s Fair and a fight) and the ghosts that are reported to lurk there. Then, prepare to encounter the strange world of museum taxidermy and its hidden history, check out mummy X-rays and learn how those artifacts are procured, and pay a visit to the hall of gems to get a lesson in reading a display case like an expert.