Genghis Khan: The Exhibition is comprised of several connecting modules for venues of 6500 square feet to 15,000 square feet.
The storyline follows the arc of Genghis Khan’s dramatic life—from illiterate, tormented child to the millenium’s greatest ruler, coupled with the rise of an unparalleled empire of freedom and innovation which he created. It is illustrated with media, interactives, atmospheric presentations, performances of art and artisanship, and not least, a unique collection of artifacts from the world he so quickly created and which so quickly dissolved with his death.
Attendees will come away with a new appreciation of a uniquely inspired reformer wrongly framed as a barbarian in Western culture. Through Genghis Khan’s life we see the formulation of his concepts and achievements in creating a nation, a language, a meritocracy, and a web of communication and artistic and religious freedom and safety. And we gain an appreciation of how this culture contrasted with the path of Western 13th century as the distinctive Mongolian horse-based culture, the world's last and one greatly in peril.
Visitors enter a darkened and spot-lit corridor with the look of Mongolian landscape, people, and culture today. The entry is a theater where timed ticket access is provided at 5 minute intervals by an attendant in costume, to a 3-minute preliminary documentary with available footage on the life and influence of Genghis Khan.
Visitors here see the first of six 10 by 20- foot original murals (or printouts to size needed). Depicted are the rise of Genghis Khan’s own life and thenomadic life of the Mongolian steppes, with artifacts of dailylife and shamanism practices from the 13th century. Included is the costume of a Shaman - healer, holy man and powerful political figure in traditional animistic religion that worships the God of the Eternal Blue Sky. We see a timeline of Genghis Khan's life compared to European events of the time, a large entry panel, a yurt with a Mongolian or docent explaining Mongolian life and implements. Surrounding panels on stands detail the process of erecting and dismantling a yurt. A loop showing yurt construction plays on a video screen.
Building an Army.
Enter into a ring of large screens, with breaks between and through which the remainder of the room and its contents are visible. Within the ring, the surrounding screens show the movement of a herd of horses in battle as if you are in the midst of it, subwoofers giving a thundering effect, and with sound effects of battle directionally aimed. There are cases with horse and war-related artifacts, and a background mural of a gathering army. A large entry sign describes Genghis’s unification of the tribes of Mongolia and the horse culture of Mongolia.
A mural of Genghis's attack strategies in his war against the Kwarazim Empire of Central Asia. In the center of the room is a large floor map projected from above showing the expanding movements of his armies and spread of his empire. Cases display artifacts from other cultures conquered by Genghis and weaponry related to these battles. As in all exhibit spaces, there is a large entry sign.
Attacking Walled Cities.
Visitors enter a darkened room with the sounds of a siege, including battering and the whirring of catapulted stones. In front of a mural depicting a city under attack are a replica trebuchet (catapult) and triple-bow siege crossbow. A large video screen on the wall shows footage from recreations of city sieges in Genghis films. This room hold cases of battle-related implements.
Death of Genghis Khan.
This room spotlights The Secret History of the Mongols, the long-hidden biography of Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan died in the siege of the Xixia empire—here he is seen standing and vanishing in a ghostly image. On the opposing wall is large video representation of the Secret History biography. A narrative with slide images plays across the book image projection, telling a brief story of the Death of Genghis Khan, the search for his undiscovered tomb, and the book’s disappearance and discovery. There are large signs with images describing both the book and the death of Genghis.
Genghis and his family were responsible for the revival of the Silk Road, bringing an influx of income, arts and supplies and a reduction of taxes to those within his Empire. Real artifacts are present in this section of the exhibit, in cases modeled after the architecture of the capital city of Karakorum.
A large introductory sign stands before a mural of an open marketplace in a brightly lit atrium. The room has a painted backdrop depicting international trade. Performers and artisans, including dancers, leatherworkers, painters and musicians, can perform here regularly or explain their crafts within this space.
A large explanatory sign greets visitors here, and they are introduced to new discoveries from ongoing digs at this 13th century world capital in the Mongolian desert. To one side of the room is a small restoration of a grid, which is divided for mapping excavations, and which is in front of a large photo mural of digs at a huge walled area of the city. There is also a dig pit in this portion of the room, where children dig for mock fragments of walls and artifacts. Items retrieved from the excavation are displayed in various cases, and a wall-mounted monitor shows 60-second narrated footage of the excavations.
Also detailed in this section of the exhibition is the rise of Buddhism under Genghis and his descendants, who adopted the religion as an organizing force throughout the Empire while tolerating all religious sects. A large Buddhist temple recently unearthed in Karakorum will be featured in the archaeological presentation.
Kublai Khan’s Xanadu.
A large entry sign greets visitors by the ornate entrance to a Palace of Chinese style, in an elegant red, gold and black gallery. A quote from the Coleridge poem is blown up large by one side of the entry, with an explanatory panel about Kublai Khan’s unification of China on the other side. Inside are ornate gold and bronze Buddhist statuary, colorful masks, pottery, etc., in individual cases.
Visitors enter an area at the end of the palace corridor with a mural and a large panel detailing the failure of the largest armada of all time, launched by Kublai to conquer Japan. If available, new-found Japanese fragments of pottery and wood are displayed in a case in front of the mural. Large text and map panels on the wall leading to the next space describe the decline of the Mongol Empire and its causes.
The Legacy of Genghis Khan.
Cases containing modern items show the influence of Genghis on everyday life—e.g. a hamburger, express mail envelope, modern passport and visa, diplomatic license plates - with signage detailing their connection to Genghis' innovation. On one wall is a video of descent from Genghi Khan to today, with accompanying short video on his genetic contribution, found in up to 8% of Asians and 1.5% of Caucasians. Visitors also see a display of items of cultural kitsch that are Genghis inspired—Genghis cigarettes, vodka, money, movies including video clip of John Wayne as Genghis. Other walls have large signage detailing his influence upon war strategy, the defining of national boundaries, and other principal areas of influence, with illustrative photos as well.
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- 6500 to 15,000 square feet. For several items special atmospheric conditions required (sealed cases provided).
- Ceiling height 12 feet or more.
- Two couriers, an exhibit registrar, a lighting designer, and two exhibit installation supervisors travel to each venue to supervise installation and
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English-proficient Mongolian performers in the exhibit at all times.
Entrance: Sequence of giant format images of Mongolian lands and lifestyle.
Saga of Khan: Film presentation (5-minute introductory
piece) that highlights the achievements and the extraordinary adventures
of the most important of all rulers.
Giant Khan: 10-foot statue of Genghis Khan.
Treasures of the Conqueror: Gold, jewelry, religious artifacts, rich
robes and armor. More than 150 13th-century artifacts in stunning display
cases: a large number of artifacts from the time and realm
of Genghis Khan.
Immersive Environments: Recreations, with giant murals, Mongolian original
woodwork and décor of grasslands, battle, city and palace environments
with audio and video enhancements.
Videos: A half-dozen videos adapted from Discovery Channel and BBC videos devoted to siege technology, horsecraft, weaponry, Marco Polo, yurt construction, and Mongolian countryside, in addition to an introductory film on the life of Genghis Khan.
Theater: Flexible seating space to accommodate live shows of
Mongolian acrobats, singers, musicians and dancers performing
within the exhibit.
Interactives: Catapult interactive; children's excavation dig pit.
Role playing: Innovative video kiosks at six stations respond to visitor
input and trace each visitor’s adventures as one of 6 different
characters in Khan’s world.
The Lost Cities and Hidden Tomb: The exhibit recreates Karakorum, the Khan's capitol and an international trading city. The results of ongoing excavations
at Karakorum and Xanadu - summer palace of Genghis’ grandson Kublai -
and its treasures are revealed. And visitors learn about the saga and the technologies behind
the search for Genghis Khan's still-hidden tomb.
Merchandising: Replica artifacts, clothing and accessories, catalogues,
and CDs will command prime pre- and post-exhibit space.
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The Life of Genghis Khan - Introductory Film
As highlighted in a three-minute wide-screen exhibit film
and light show, Genghis Khan’s life was an astounding triumph of
will and innovation.
The greatest conqueror in history began his life as Temujin, the 13th
Century son of a Mongolian grasslands tribal chieftain. His father was
poisoned when Temujin was 13, and his betrothed kidnapped. Betrayed by
his brother, sheltered by friends, he survived an extended manhunt by
rival tribes and united other tribes in more than a decade of battling
with rival clans in Mongolia.
A lifetime of conquest followed, with an empire under his descendants that extended from the Pacific
to Central Europe – more land than any empire has conquered before
or since – and a conquest marked by frightening brutality and brilliant
generalship. Genghis Khan brought a revolution in battle technology from
siege weaponry to guerilla tactics to germ and psychological warfare.
But Genghis Khan is just as notable for his introduction of religious
tolerance and stable government, and his encouragement
of the arts to a formerly primitive and disorganized realm. He created a flourishing and secure international community
with written language, currency and printing presses hundreds of years
ahead of European civilization.
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The Mystery of Genghis Khan's Tomb
Genghis Khan died in middle age while completing his most thorough
conquest of his greatest rivals, the Xixia culture of central Asia.
His remains, and purportedly even more of his treasures, were taken
200 miles by his most loyal troops (a clan that exists and guards his
shrine to this day) killing every living thing en route to prevent
any communication of his death or burial spot. Horses trampled over
his grave to further shield it from discovery.
Seven hundred years later the exact location and contents of his tomb
are still unknown, despite Japanese and American expeditions and considerable
scholarly inquiry into this enduring puzzle. The methods used and those to be employed in the near future are highlighted
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