MUSEUM CAMPUS — After showing Chicagoans the lives of dinosaurs and pharaohs, the Field Museum will now offer guests a glimpse of ancient China.
The "Cyrus Tang Hall of China," a new permanent exhibit at Field, will open Wednesday at the Downtown museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive. The new exhibit, which pulls from more than 33,000 Chinese artifacts, is the product of three years of work involving 90 Field staffers and 75 outside scholars.
"It's not often we open a new permanent exhibition," Field President and CEO Richard Lariviere said at a media preview Tuesday morning. "When we do, it's something that will educate and entertain a new generation of museum goers."
An imperial robe from the Qing Dynasty on display at the exhibit. [DNAinfo/David Matthews]
The exhibit includes 350 historic Chinese objects including textiles, rubbings, bronzes, ceramics and sculpture made across thousands of years. Among the highlights: a 27-foot-long hand scroll painting offering a panoramic view of a riverside city. And for the first time, the Field included interactive video boards allowing visitors to choose from an array of stories to read.
In a statement, the Field said the "China" exhibit is the only permanent installation in the country to examine Chinese culture and history from an anthropological viewpoint.
"While art museums typically highlight the aesthetic and contextual qualities of specific objects, the 'Cyrus Tang Hall of China' will tell the stories of the people who used them, the traditions they forged, and the legacies of that history that underlays and helps us understand the present," Gary Feinman, the museum's East Asian anthropology curator, said.
The exhibit also includes a shadow puppet performance, and a meditative indoor "garden" named after late businesswoman Sue Ling Gin.
The Sue Ling Gin Gardens. [DNAinfo/David Matthews]
A local middle school group was among the first guests of the exhibit. One of the students was Sebastian Reyes, 13, of Pilsen.
"I find it real helpful because most of this stuff I haven't learned yet," Reyes said. "It's pretty interactive."
The exhibit's namesake, Cyrus Tang, immigrated to the United States from China in 1950 and since became a successful businessman with interests in metals and many other industries. Tang has founded or acquired more than 100 companies in the past 50 years, Field said.
Tickets to the exhibit are included in both Field's Discovery ($25 for adults) and All-Access ($31 for adults) passes. Visit the museum's website for more information, and scroll down for more photos.
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