Motion picture film and video is utilized to document the museum’s involvement in scientific explorations, our experiences with many cultures, and for public education.
At the turn of the 20th century the rapid development of motion picture technology presented a novel and intriguing form of mass media to bring far-off places and peoples to burgeoning urban populations. Due to the generosity of several Chicago patrons, The Field Museum was one of the few museums in the United States producing feature length documentary films (others institutions included the American Museum in New York and the Smithsonian). Between 1914 and the late 1960s the Museum commissioned the production of many films, which were subsequently used in education programs and were an integral part of the Field’s daily public film series. These silent films provide a window into the Field Museum's rich history.