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September 5, 2001

Governor Releases Grant to Help Construct New Field Museum Research Center

SPRINGFIELD --­­ Governor George H. Ryan today released $20 million in Illinois FIRST funds to The Field Museum in Chicago to help construct a new Collections Resource Center. The facility will house the Museum's world­renowned anthropology and zoology collections and provide essential laboratory space for researchers. The construction of a new east entrance is also being planned as part of the expansion to better accommodate people with special needs and visiting school groups.

"The Field Museum is one of the finest natural history museums in the world. It is a tremendous asset not only to the state's citizens but to visitors from around the world," Governor Ryan said. " This grant will help fund state­of­the­art storage and conservation space for the museum's priceless collections, while allowing some existing collection storage areas to be converted for public exhibitions and programs."

The $60 million,170,000 square­foot collections facility will be constructed underground, below the existing terraces, to preserve the landmark architecture of the museum. The project will increase museum storage and research facilities by 30 percent and allow for the consolidation of the anthropology and zoology collections. The additional space will allow staff and visiting scientists fully study specimens as diverse as dinosaurs, totem poles, pottery and DNA.

"On behalf of our Trustees, staff, volunteers and thousands of visitors, we thank Governor Ryan and the legislative leaders for their vision in providing this important initial step for the Museum's expansion," commented Field Museum President John McCarter. "The value of this investment will be seen for years through the public education and research programs advanced by The Field Museum."

Once the below­ground phase is complete, current collection storage space will be renovated with 45,000 square­feet being converted to public display areas. The new east entrance would be constructed during the final phase of the project.

The Illinois FIRST funds will be used for design and construction of the underground space. Funds from other grants and private donations will be used to construct other components of the Museum's capital expansion.


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