Hall of China Opens at the Field

Chicago Tonight welcomes Field Museum curator Gary Feinman to discuss the years-in-the-making exhibition exploring Chinese history and culture. Through five galleries, the Cyrus Tang Hall of China reveals the constant change and strong continuity that have defined China over the past 5,000 years.

Lisa Niziolek, a content advisor for the Cyrus Tang Hall of China Exhibit, tells us about the significance of the exhibit, some things to expect, and some fun things for kids to do.

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

What’s the significance of the Cyrus Tang Hall of China exhibit?

Many people have this idea that China is just this one thing and it’s so much more than that. China is very diverse. We have the largest collection of Chinese objects in the U.S. Berthold Laufer was a pioneer of Asian cultures. Out of the 24,000 pieces we have [at The Field Museum], Laufer acquired 19,000 archaeological, historical, and ethnographic objects going as far back as 6000 B.C.

What are some of the highlights of the new exhibit?

One of our standouts is the “Along the River During the Qing Ming Festival.” It’s a painting attributed to Song Dynasty artist Zhang Zeduan. It captures the daily life of people and the landscape of the capital. It’s 27 feet long and a digital version enables visitors to virtually “scroll” through the entire continuous scene and learn about the variety of people depicted in the painting.

Is the exhibit kid-friendly?

When we originally designed the exhibit, we geared it toward older children and adults. However, we have some pieces we think younger kids will enjoy. Our Landscape Cyclorama and Topographical Map is an interactive map where kids [with the help of their parents] can view a variety of landscapes depicting China 10,000 years ago.

What’s unique about this exhibit? What’s featured here that no one else has?

Other exhibits are more art focused. The Cyrus Tang Hall of China seeks to showcase the stories of the people in China. We focus not only on the art and the piece, but who made the piece, how it was used, how its use changed through the centuries. We have five galleries that our team worked hard on. They each come together beautifully. No one visiting our exhibit will be overwhelmed. Each object has a story to tell.

Interview has been condensed and edited.

The exhibit features several Chinese shadow puppets. Watch The Field Museum’s behind-the-scenes video on how they brought these artifacts to life for visitors.

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors