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'Indiana Jones' and the Journey to a Museum

8 Nov, 2012 By: John Latchem

When watching the “Indiana Jones” films (on the new Blu-ray boxed set, of course), maybe you’ve wished you could see artifacts such as the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail in a museum.

Well, now you can.

Taking to heart Indy’s famous line, "It belongs in a museum," the National Geographic Society presents a new exhibition devoted to the exploits of everyone’s favorite fictional treasure hunter: “Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archeology.” It’s running now through April 21, 2013, at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, Calif.

The exhibit, produced by Montreal’s X3 Productions, includes dozens of famous props, production sketches, models and costumes on loan from the Lucasfilm archives, side by side with real historical artifacts from the Penn Museum.

This is a great exhibit, especially for Indiana Jones fans, and offers a thorough examination of the archeology profession that is glamorized in the films.

It begins with a greeting by Harrison Ford and a booth containing the famous Indiana Jones costume, complete with fedora and whip.

The display floor is divided into sections based on each film, with adjacent annexes devoted to real-life archeological displays. So you can gaze at the golden beauty of the Ark of the Covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark, then step into the room next door to learn about the real-life adventures of archeologist Sir Leonard Woolley.

Or you can stand before a 10-foot tall Crystal skeleton at the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull display, and turn a corner to read about the real Nazca culture in Peru.


Props of the main artifacts from all four "Indiana Jones" films are on display. (L-R): The Ark of the Covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Sankara Stones from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the Holy Grail from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and the crystal skull from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.


And when it’s over, guests can learn about artifacts from their own regions. At the Discovery Science Center, that meant the archeological history of Orange County, Calif.

Perhaps ironically, the Cross of Coronado that inspired Indy’s museum quote in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is not one of the props on display.

The museum gives each guest a portable video player and headset to explain the significance of certain objects and their role in the films.


Guests are guided throught the exhibits by a personal video companion. if you pose for a picture, don't forget to take the headphones off!


There’s also a series of games to collect missing pieces of a virtual artifact by scanning a checkpoint with the player, with the results displayed on a status board at the end. And then, before you leave, there’s an interactive “Indiana Jones” play area for the kids.

The Discovery Science Center is the first American stop for “Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archeology” after an international tour that included stops in Montreal and Valencia, Spain. Tickets are $10 ($8 for museum members), in addition to museum admission rates ($14.95 for adults, $12.95 for children and seniors). For information, visit .

Future tour stops will be listed at . If it comes to your town, be sure to check it out.



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