China’s famed terracotta warriors’ traveling exhibition made a visit to the United States this year. Luckily, they marched straight to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis which is only 100 miles from me. I didn’t get to see the sculptures while I was in China, so was thrilled to have the chance to see them so close to home. But at the same time, I fully expected to be disappointed. How in the world could seeing a dozen or so terracotta soldiers compare to seeing thousands standing in formation like we see in pictures?
My expectations weren’t very high, but I was very pleasantly surprised.
To begin with, the Children’s Museum had an entire exhibit devoted to Chinese culture. As soon as you walked in you saw red lanterns and a replica of the Great Wall that adults and children lined up to slide down.
From there, you entered an exhibition hall that began with a make-believe plane ride to China. You sat in what felt like real airline seats as clouds rolled past the windows and a flight attendant explained how many miles we were traveling from Indianapolis to Beijing. Then, as we approached our destination, the plane shook and we saw the jagged black mountains that I remember so well from my real flight to China. It was a warp speed trip to China without the jet lag!
We landed and entered exhibitions that were all about Chinese culture: tea, writing Chinese characters, Chinese opera, Chinese medicines, etc.. It was a fabulous representation of life in China.
But onto the terracotta warriors, which is why we were there.
Was it as impressive as seeing the real deal in China? No. But it was still awe-inspiring and such an interesting, fun, interactive exhibit that I was totally impressed. I don’t usually like interactive activities. (I’m kind of a stick-in-the-mud-this-isn’t-what-a-museum-is-supposed-to-be-like curmudgeon.) But the activities in the terracotta exhibit were too fun to resist.
Finally, the real terracotta warriors. The actual soldiers from China:
The exhibit was fantastic. Well worth the price of admission. It will still be on display at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis for a few more weeks and then will travel again. If it comes near you, I highly recommend a visit. I don’t know whether the interactive activities are the same everywhere this travels, but we spent hours immersing ourselves in all there was to do and see.
Of course, I still want to see the real warriors in China. But if I never do, I was satisfied with this.
What museum exhibits have impressed you?