The Secret Third Floor at The Field Museum

The Field Museum, John G. Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium Library Tour – Part 1 of 3

The GSLIS students had a real treat this past week as Jori Daniels, Society of American Archivists DU Chapter President arranged for LISSA members to visit the libraries of The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium.  This first installment will focus on The Field Museum, and the Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium are soon to follow.

Just visiting The Field Museum is amazing in and of itself, but to be invited to walk through the closed stacks on the third floor of the museum is a vision not many visitors get to see! The Marie Louise Rosenthal Library at The Field Museum has over 270,000 volumes in its collection with the oldest book dating back to 1486 — Gart der GesundheitGarden of Health.  Librarian Christine Giannoni offers a glimpse of a Mandrake plant. Does the Mandrake sound familiar?? It’s the plant made famous by the Harry Potter movies. The book itself was in exceptional condition as the pages were intact,  the printing was clear and crisp, and the coloring was vibrant. A tasty treat for all the archivists out there!!

GSLIS student Julie James writes:

The Marie Louise Rosenthal Library at the Field Museum had by far the largest collection of the three, and has about seven staff members. The director, Christine Giannoni, talked about the importance of networking and advocacy for special libraries.  Her challenges sound familiar- hacked budgets, lack of space, and dwindling staff.  The building presents its own problems as the climate control is less than optimal.  The library is geared towards historical research, so nothing can be weeded, but conservation and repair are not in the budget.  Digitization is progressing, which has the effect of making the collection more visible, and more in demand.  The library takes part in the Biodiversity Heritage Library project, in which museums collaborate to provide online historical scientific literature that will help scientists, students, and librarians.  Photo archives are useful for museum displays and promotion, and all collections can be used for research by the public provided an appointment is made.  For me, the best part of this library was seeing their oldest book, the Gart der Gesundheit (Garden of Health) from Germany way back in 1486!

For additional information about the the library at The Field Museum, visit their website by clicking here.

Thank you Jori for putting this tour together and thanks to Julie for your words. Stay tuned for the next installment of the Museum Campus Library Tour.



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