Archive for the ‘Discovery Exhibits’ Category

Currently at Discovery Times Square in New York City, the exhibition Terracotta Warriors – Defenders of China’s First Emperor is on display.  The good news is that this is an amazing exhibit.  The bad news is that the last day for the exhibit at Discovery Times Square is August 26th, so if you are in the NYC tri-state area put it on your things to do list for the weekend!

The Terracotta Warriors is known as one of the greatest archeology finds and it is amazing to me that Chinese emperors were buried with a full size army for the afterlife.   It is hard to believe that what is now regarded as the 8th Wonder of the Ancient World was discovered when farmers stumbled upon the site by accident. The terracotta warriors are unique and 8,000 figures have been recovered, but only nine are on exhibit.  Getting up close and personal with the life-size soldiers that guarded the tomb of the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang di who lived over 2000 years ago gave us a better understanding of China’s First Emperor’s life and afterlife.

Like many of the exhibits at Discovery Times Square, the exhibit started with a brief movie that provided a great overview.  The exhibit itself, was broken down in three chronological sections, starting 600 years before the emperor’s birth and ended 200 years after his death.  The first section told the story of how the First Emperor’s ancestors rose to power.  The second section, which had many artifacts from the latest archeology discovery, focused on the afterlife.  The last section presented the life of the Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 220).

My son loved King Tut a couple of years ago and enjoyed this exhibit too.  I am sure the First Emperor would never have thought that his terracotta soldiers would travel to New York City 2200 years later.  We are sure glad they did and are happy that we were able to learn about the emperor’s legacy before they return home to China.

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Last week we stepped into the secret world of spying at the new exhibit at Discovery Times Square.  We have been to the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. and loved it so much that I actually looked into the Spy-In-Training Program for my son. The price was reasonable, but my son is 13 and the program is for 14 to 17 year olds.  Since plan A didn’t work out, I decided to implement plan B and we headed to NYC instead and entered into the secret world of espionage.

I have been to many exhibits at Discovery Times Square like the Titanic-The Artifact Exhibition, King Tut, Pompeii, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the CSI: The Experience.  One thing they all had in common was a theatrical opening where you are taken back into the time frame of the exhibit.  The Spy exhibit was no different.  We were told to forget what we thought we knew about spies and were promised that we would be taken beyond the fiction of the movies and novels and uncover the fascinating truth of the world of patriots, spies, moles, traitors, and spy-catchers.

We learned that seventeen intelligence agencies contribute to the presidential daily brief each morning for the simple reason to protect our country’s interest and keep our citizens safe. Exhibits ranged from underwater secrets to the U-2 Spy Plane.  My son of course liked the Hidden in Plain Sight exhibit where everyday items were turned into devices to conceal supplies or information.  Needless to say he left the gift shop with a bank that was disguised as a shaving cream can.

I liked the exhibit on traitors, specifically reviewing the information on Robert Hansen.  I recalled that many things in this section had been on display at the International Spy Museum,  but for some reason I was still fascinated, perhaps because I still remember when the story broke on the news.  Hanssen’s handwritten letter of apology that he read at his sentencing in 2002 was on displayed.

Bug planted in the US ambassador to Czechoslovakia’s shoe in 1960.

Hanssen File

The best part of the exhibit was the interactive exhibits where we could alter our own disguises and voices.  We were able to photograph ourselves and then digitally add disguises and record a voice message and then alter them by a press of a button.

The highlight of the exhibit was the laser maze.  Here you had twenty seconds to navigate the laser lines without setting off the alarm.  All I have to say is that I won’t be cast anytime soon for Mission Impossible 5, but maybe I’ll get a call for a Get Smart sequel!

My son is fascinated with the world of spies and  this was one of his favorite exhibits.  We most probably will still check out the Spy-In-Training Program at the International SPY Museum next summer, but until then he will just have to pick up Thomas B. Allen’s book, George Washington, Spymaster which is on his summer reading list.

What will be your family’s next mission?  

Decipher the code to find out!


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CSI Agents

Where can your kids learn about scientific principles and techniques that are used today by crime scene investigators and forensic scientist?  You most probably are thinking on the latest episode of Law and Order, NCIS or CSI.  Well your family now can actually go to an interactive exhibit called CSI:  The Experience.  This exhibits incorporates elements from the popular CBS series, “CSI:  Crime Scene Investigation”.

Our family had an unbelievable time when we entered the crime scenes at Discovery Times Square in New York City.  The hands-on experience let us identify and record evidence.  We investigated the crime scene “Who Got Served?”.    In this case a young woman was found dead in an alley behind an old Las Vegas motel.  There was a tire tread across her abdomen and beside her was a headshot of her ripped in half.

Just like real crime scene investigators we looked at digital evidence left behind and was able to retrieve who the victim sent her last text message to and to who! Then, we looked at latent prints on the photograph and impression evidence from the tire tracks.

Later, we investigated the forensic aspect and reviewed the toxicology report of the substance that was left in the bag near the victim.  Learning about forensic entomology, we were able to determine the time of death.  Reviewing the forensic biology, we determined the victim’s true identity by looking at her DNA.

Cracking the Case

We ended up solving the crime by determining the cause of death and reported back to the medical examiner.  Our supervisor, Gil Grissom awarded us a diploma, making us CSI Agents for cracking the case!

This experience was so much fun and educational!  In addition to the case we investigated, you can also investigate two other cases called “A House Collided” or “No Bones About It!”.  After going through these exhibits you will learn things like calculating a person’s height by measuring their femur bone or that the diameter determines the caliber of a bullet.

It is always a lot of fun when you experience something hands-on!   The fact that this exhibit also was entrenched in multimedia via videotaped messages from the cast of the TV show just made this adventure awesome.

This exhibit is currently in Las Vegas, New York and Australia and is geared towards kids that are twelve and older.  I hope your family will be able to plunge into the action of solving one of the three crimes because it was not only fun and educational, but a great opportunity to work together as a family.  Good luck cracking the case!

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The Artifact Exhibition

This year will be the 100th anniversary of the world’s most famous shipwreck, the Titanic. Several events will take place to commemorate this anniversary like the re-release in 3-D of the 1997 Titanic movie and an auction of 5,000 artifacts.

The Grand Staircase

Another way to commemorate this event is to visit the Titanic, The Artifact Exhibition.  We visited this exhibit when it was at the Discovery Times Square in New York City.  I have seen many traveling exhibits that have come to the Discovery Times Square, and this by far is my favorite!  When we entered the exhibit, we received a replica- boarding pass of an actual passenger aboard the Titanic.  Then we traveled on the chronological journey of how the ship met its fate.  Two of the things that are ingrained in my memory was touching the cold iceberg and seeing china perfectly stacked in sand in front of a picture that was taken on the bottom of the ocean floor.  It was amazing that the dishes were perfectly stacked in the picture . The cabinets that eventually disintegrated had preserved them.  At the end of the exhibit, we were able to look up the name of the passenger on our boarding pass on the Memorial Wall to discover whether they perished or survived.

My son had read Titanic by Anna Claybourne and Katie Daynes before we visited the exhibit in November of 2009.  The exhibit brought the pages in the book alive for him and it was also an opportunity to learn about the human spirit in face of the tragedy from the stories throughout the exhibit.

This exhibit has been long gone from New York, but if you are lucky enough be in the area of one of the current or upcoming exhibits, I highly recommend this fabulous exhibit.  The journey back to 1912 will allow you to connect with the passengers and crew through personal stories and you and your children will learn things you never knew about the” unsinkable” ship.

Current and Upcoming Exhibits in the United States.

Natural Science Center of Greensboro – The exhibit ends this coming Sunday, January 8th.

The Henry Ford Museum in Detroit – Opens March 2012.

San Diego Natural History Museum – Opens February 10th.

Union Station in Kansas City – Opens March 2012.

For International Exhibitions please go to www.rmstitanic.net/

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Discovery Times Square is one of my favorite new editions to New York City.  My son is always excited to see what the new exhibit will be and he was thrilled when King Tut‘s chariot arrived in the middle of Manhattan.  Archeology has been an interest of my son since the latest Indiana Jones movie, so when he learned about the British archeologist, Howard Carter and his discovery of the boy king he was ready to make a trip himself to Egypt!    Thank goodness we only had to go to NYC to get to Egypt!  The exhibit was filled with over a hundred artifacts and it was amazing to see the possessions unearthed from King Tut’s tomb in person.  I highly recommend this exhibit to my friends should the exhibit come to your city.

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