Market Takes Bite Out of Field Museum

Endowment drops $95 million, big fossil debut scrapped

Wednesday, Jan 7, 2009  |  Updated 7:03 PM CDT
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Market Takes Bite Out of Field Museum

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A sculptor's rendering of the early hominid known as Lucy, which won't be making a stop at the Field Museum.

The tanking stock market has hit the Field Museum's endowment, which has dropped about $95 million -- 30 percent -- leading to salary cuts, layoffs and buyout offers to scientists and other employees.

While most of the planned upcoming exhibits will be presented as scheduled, financial belt-tightening contributed to the museum's decision not to present Lucy, a 3.2 million-year-old fossil of an early human ancestor that was to debut here this fall, Field president John McCarter said Tuesday.

The fossilized remains of Lucy were displayed in the U.S. for the first time last year, at a museum in Houston.  The exhibit led to controversy over whether the fossil, which revolutionized the world of anthropology, was too fragile to move from Ethiopia.

Read more in the Chicago Sun-Times.

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