BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
In recognition of more than 50 years of exemplary service and philanthropy, Juli Plant Grainger and the Grainger Foundation received the Marshall Field V Award for Distinguished Leadership at the Field Museum’s 125th Anniversary Gala. Hosted by the museum’s Women’s Board and chaired by Beth Kauffman and Laura Podjasek, who translated the theme “Garden Nights City Lights” in dazzling colors and beautiful bouquets, the gala raised $2.16 million and showcased a new look for historic Stanley Hall, now featuring Maximo, the world’s largest dinosaur, a flock of flying pterosaurs, and four hanging gardens with more than 1,000 live hydroponic plants.
In celebration of the 125th anniversary of the museum, the funds raised by the event will support the Field’s collections-based research and conservation efforts, education programs, and inspiring visitor experiences. Women’s Board President Donna Greenberg greeted the 560 guests, including many of the Board’s past presidents, underneath the hanging gardens, worthy of those in Biblical Babylon but now structurally executed by 3D printers. The Museum’s young professionals group, the Field Associates, joined the Gala After-Party for dancing.
Of the evening’s notable honoree, Museum President and CEO Richard W. Lariviere told the audience:
“It would be very hard to overstate the impact The Grainger Foundation has had across so many areas of the museum’s work. From public-facing exhibition spaces to scientific research and the digitization of our vast collections, its generosity has been of enormous importance. Juli Plant Grainger’s significant role and important contributions to this partnership spanned more than 30 years as a Women’s Board member and Life Trustee.”
The Grainger Hall of Gems and The Grainger Science Hub demonstrate the Foundation’s commitment to exhibitions, research, and the Museum’s vast collections. The Foundation has also contributed to digitization efforts, which enable the Museum’s rarely-seen physical collections to be discoverable online for scholars, students, and the naturally curious.
This year marked the third presentation of the Marshall Field V award. Marshall Field was honored for his 50 years of service as a trustee in 2016 and last year Field Board Chair Bill Gantz won the prestigious award.
The makeover of iconic Stanley Field Hall, introducing Maximo, the largest dinosaur ever discovered, was made possible by the support of the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund. Hailing from Patagonia, Argentina, the touchable titanosaur cast reaches 122 feet across Stanley Field Hall and stands 28 feet tall at the head. Opposite Maximo, the four state-of-the-art hanging gardens of live plants are bioplastic clouds, the largest 3D printed garden structures ever.
Beth commented, “It was an honor to co-chair the Museum’s 125th Anniversary Gala. On this milestone occasion, the Women’s Board was proud to present our beloved museum in a new light in a transformed Stanley Field Hall.”
Laura echoed her sentiments, saying:
“Garden Nights City Lights was inspired by the beautiful new hanging gardens, and the evening could not have been a more fitting celebration of the ‘new look’ of Stanley Field Hall. We are deeply grateful for the support of our generous community of Trustees, Women’s Board members, and other friends who made the evening special.”
Sponsoring the 125th anniversary celebration were Aon, GCM Grosvenor, ITW, Magellan Corporation, and the Wirtz Corporation.
For more information on the Field Museum, visit fieldmuseum.org.