Better Business Bureau Report for
The Field Museum

Better Business Bureau Report issued September 2016
Better Business Bureau Report expires September 2018

Does not meet one or more standards
This charity does not meet one or more of the 20 standards for Charity Accountability. Find out more...

Find out more about this charity:

Back To Top

Charity Contact Information

Name: The Field Museum
Address: 1400 S. Lakeshore Drive
  Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: 312-922-9410
Web Address:
Also known as:The Field Museum of Natural History
Back To Top

Better Business Bureau Comments

Formerly known as:Columbian Museum of Chicago
Field Columbian Museum
Chicago Natural History Museum

Year, State Incorporated: 1893, Illinois
Affiliates: None
Stated Purpose: The Field Museum inspires curiosity about life on Earth while exploring how the world came to be and how we can make it a better place. We invite visitors, students, educators and scientists from around the world on a journey of scientific discovery. Our exhibitions tell the story of life on Earth Our collections solve scientific mysteries Our research opens new vistas Our science translates into action for a healthy planet As educators, we inspire wonder and understanding.

Back To Top

Evaluation Conclusions


The Field Museum does not meet the following 3 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Standard 4: Compensated Board Members - Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board's chair or treasurer.

The Field Museum does not meet this Standard because:

  • The treasurer of the board of directors is compensated either directly or indirectly.

Standard 16: Annual Report - Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization's mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.

The Field Museum does not meet this standard because the most recent annual report did not include:

  • Total income.
  • Total program expenses.
  • Total expenses for each program in the same categories that appear in the organization’s financial statements.
  • Total fund raising expenses.
  • Total administrative expenses.
  • Total end of year net assets.

Standard 18: Privacy for Written Appeals & Internet Privacy - Address privacy concerns of donors by (a) providing in written appeals, at least annually, a means (e.g., such as a check off box) for both new and continuing donors to inform the charity if they do not want their name and address shared outside the organization, (b) providing a clear, prominent and easily accessible privacy policy on any of its websites that tells visitors (i) what information, if any, is being collected about them by the charity and how this information will be used, (ii) how to contact the charity to review personal information collected and request corrections, (iii) how to inform the charity (e.g., a check off box) that the visitor does not wish his/her personal information to be shared outside the organization, and (iv) what security measures the charity has in place to protect personal information.

The Field Museum does not meet this Standard because:

In addition, the BBB of Chicago & Northern Illinois requested but did not receive complete information on the organization’s governance and oversight, effectiveness measures, finances, and solicitation materials and is unable to verify the organization's compliance with the following 6Standards for Charity Accountability: 5, 6, 7, 10, 14, and 15.
The Field Museum meets the remaining 11 Standards for Charity Accountability.
Back To Top



Through the work of four complementary centers- Gantz Family Collection Center, Integrative Research Center, Keller Science Action Center, and Learning Center, The Field Museum carries out the kind of science and education that only a large natural history museum can do. Our collection of 30 million geological and biological specimens and cultural objects contains the magnificent story of our planet, its life, and its cultures. Our research unlocks the information in the collections, solving mysteries from our past and present. Our action harnesses collections-based science to create lasting results for conservation, quality of life, and cultural understanding. Our learning programs build on Museum collections and expertise to engage learners of all ages in experience-based discovery. Through these intertwined efforts, The Field Museum enhances opportunities to understand the past, explore the present, and shape a future rich with biological and cultural diversity.

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, The Field Museum's program expenses were:

Science and education 17,431,377
Museum services 8,641,494
Debt services 7,658,830
Public programs 6,568,625
Museum outreach 6,081,411
Business enterprises 3,313,080
Institution advancement 3,023,401
Total Program Expenses: $52,718,218
Back To Top



Chief Executive : Richard Lariviere, Ph.D., President + CEO

Chair of the Board: Constance T. Keller
Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: Chairman of Board of Trustees

Board Size: 78

Paid Staff Size: 472

*Compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.
Back To Top

Fund Raising


Method(s) Used:

direct mail, telephone, invitations to fund raising events, print advertisements, grant proposals, internet, planned giving arrangements, membership, Text-to-Donate
Fund raising costs were 21% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $14,517,211, are donations received as a result of fund raising activities.)
Back To Top

Tax Status


This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.
Back To Top



The following information is based on The Field Museum's audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015.

Source of Funds  
Investment return 14,827,000
Contributions 13,354,310
Admissions 12,370,162
Business enterprises 8,331,251
Chicago Park District property tax remittances 5,690,148
Program service fees 3,193,833
Memberships 2,806,972
Government grants 2,390,588
Private grants and contracts 1,871,547
Sponsorships 1,162,901
Other 491,974
Total Income $66,490,686


Uses of Funds as a % of Total Expenses

Programs: 86%  Fund Raising: 5%  Administrative: 9% 

Total income $66,490,686
Program expenses $52,718,218
Fund raising expenses 3,023,401
Administrative expenses 5,743,931
Total expenses $61,485,550
Income in Excess of Expenses 5,005,136
Beginning net assets 410,921,900
Ending net assets 437,575,516
Total liabilities 210,716,046
Total assets $648,291,562

Back To Top

An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes.

Send to:

What is an Accredited Charity