Northwestern Events Calendar


Death is Not Silent: Meet the Flesh-eating Beetles of the Field Museum

When: Friday, May 27, 2022
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM Central

Where: Block Museum of Art, Mary and Leigh, Meet here for transportation to the Field, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Contact: Mel Keiser   (847) 491-7077

Group: Death Studies Research Group

Co-Sponsor: Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities

Category: Academic


Join artist Mel Keiser and media historian Jacob Smith on a behind-the-scenes tour of the flesh-eating beetle room at the Field Museum of Chicago, where we will listen to the sound of life consuming death. 

We will meet with Field Museum Assistant Collections Manager Mary Hennen to learn about the role of the flesh-eating beetles in preparing animal specimens for the museum's collection, why these specimens are important, and how they are used by scientists for conservation and research. Then, as part of this truly unique opportunity, we will experience five minutes of "silence" with the flesh-eating beetles.

After this tour, we will wander through the mammal and bird halls of the Field Museum, and consider the ways these silent animals speak to us, even in death.

We will offer participants from north campus transportation to the Field Museum and back to Evanston. Participants from south campus can meet us at the Field Museum for the tour at 1:00 pm. We will provide transportation from the museum that returns to Evanston by 4:00pm. Participants will also be welcome to stay at the museum and explore on their own if they would like to find their own transportation home.

This event can only accommodate 12 people and are available on a first-come first-serve basis. Faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students are all encouraged to attend. Register through our event link is required.

*To be clear, during this field trip, we will see dead animals in various stages of scientific preparation. This means that you will see animal bodies in various stages of decomposition, possibly including blood and viscera. Please only sign up for this event if you are comfortable with this. We will also be talking openly about animal and human death, dying, and mortality.

More information can be found through our webpage:

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