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Look up! Have you spotted the giant octopus model at the Museum? 🐙

It’s currently on display in our What is an Animal? exhibition, but it has a long and fascinating history: this giant papier-mâché octopus appeared in the Anthropological Building of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. The man who made the model—James Henry Emerton, an arachnologist and scientific illustrator—never saw a live specimen of this animal, a giant octopus from the Pacific Ocean off California (Enteroctopus dofleini). Emerton had to rely on studying specimens preserved in alcohol; he used measurements of an octopus reported in a scientific paper as the guide for its size. And he made it life sized! The arms on the model span 18 feet in diameter.
One of the challenges of studying animals like cephalopods is that the preserved specimens can look dramatically different than they do in life (well, when you think about it, live octopuses can look dramatically different from one minute to the next). If you want to get someone interested in octopuses, a preserved specimen is not the way to do it. Models like the giant papier-mâché octopus were used to show these amazing animals in all their molluscan glory to people who otherwise wouldn’t see one in the wild—like visitors to the World’s Fair in 1893, and perhaps visitors to The Field Museum today! We have other models in What is an Animal? that most people don’t recognize for what they are. Do you know this Museum secret?

Photos: Giant octopus model on display in Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair exhibition, and the giant octopus model and a mammoth on display in the Anthropological Building of the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893.

#CephalopodWeek #Cephalopods #FieldMuseum #TBT

The new Jurassic World exhibit is a hoot! They have evening hours if you don't want to pay for admission to the Field - @peterjg83 and I were the only people there during our time slot! #fieldmuseum #jurassicworld #dinopeter #instagay #humpday

Michelle hanging with some friends. #tahiti #friends #fieldmuseum #chicago #notreal

🎶can we go see the dinosaurs?🎶 #fieldmuseum #mylove #summerinthecity

Free day at the museum calls for a day in the city! 🏙#fieldmuseum #buckinghamfountain

Family Day!
#FieldMuseum

I'm back home in Portland! Here are a few photos from my trip to the Field Museum. There were special exhibits on tattooing and the museums species collection. I now have so many reference photos of animals for drawings and tattoos! #fieldmuseum #deadstuff #chicago

Meet Sue, the World's best preserved and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex dubbed as T-Rex!

#trex #fieldmuseum #chicagomuseums #dinosaur #jurassicpark

MOST RECENT

Exploring the new #jurassicworld #exhibit at the #fieldmuseum on #freeadmission day (the dinosaur exhibit had an extra fee). The replicas were impressively realistic!
I still don't have an IL license so I had to pull up my gas bill on my phone to enter 😂
(With #aacn)
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#dinosaur #museum #naturalhistory #공룡 #박물관 #무료입장

Hung out with some dinosaurs today.

Free day at the museum calls for a day in the city! 🏙#fieldmuseum #buckinghamfountain

Dino hunting is serious business #dinoemojiplease 🏛#fieldmuseum #jurassicworldexhibition

오늘 Ilinois residents free day라서 나만 공짜인날에 맞춰서 온건데 엄마 이모 다 공짜로 해줬다🤗
생각치못한 큰행복
#fieldmuseum 🦁🐯
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#몇번째 #방문인지 #필드뮤지엄
#치카고 #여행그램 #5번째방문 #자연사박물관🏛 #무료 #소소한행복 #스페셜 #museum #chicago #redidents #day #trip #일상스타그램 #오늘하루

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