Human Remains Collection

As with most museums of its size and age, the Field Museum collected human remains throughout much of its history. While there is important scientific information to be gained from research with human remains, the Museum recognizes that many of these individuals are ancestral to modern-day communities and that some were collected in profoundly unethical ways. In these cases, we are working to return these individuals to where they belong.


Map of the Field Museum’s Human Remains Collections

The map shown above is an up-to-date representation of the human remains currently housed at the Field Museum. It displays the number of records identified as human remains for a given country, state, or region. This number does not represent the number of individuals in the collection because there are instances where multiple individuals were cataloged together.

For the United States, this map displays human remains that have not yet been represented in Notices of Inventory Completion.

As of 2023, the Field Museum acts as a steward for human remains represented by approximately 4,500 catalog numbers. Of these, about 1,500 were collected from the United States and Canada. (Due to a lack of provenience, the 111 human hair clippings taken from Indigenous people in the United States and Canada are not represented on this map.)

This map is a work in progress and is based on information found in our electronic museum database, so there may be discrepancies in the data presented above. Further, please note the locations may be approximate due to missing geographic information, or to accommodate the technical limits of the map. Unfortunately, the map can only represent current political boundaries, not historic ones or cultural regions.

Overall, this map is a part of the Center for Repatriation’s ongoing mission to support transparency at the Field Museum regarding the many collections and their histories.