Lost Civilizations of the Tarim Basin – A Traveling Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Exhibit

March 10th, 1998 - January 31st, 2000 | PROJECT

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County will develop Lost Civilizations of the Tarim Basin. This will be a 6000 sq. ft. traveling exhibit that will introduce visitors to the extraordinary archaeological discoveries that have recently been made in the Taklamakan Desert in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Due to the arid desert conditions the preservation of sites, artifacts, and human remains is exceptional and the artifacts represent some of the oldest extant items made of perishable materials (wood, paper, silk, and leather.) What has intrigued scientists about these remains is the fact they are Indo-Europeans. These remains have challenged the scholarly world by adding fuel to an already heated debate considering the origins and development of the Indo-European peoples who inhabited the Eurasian landmass for thousands of years. Who were these people, where did they come from, and what was their role in the early development of East/West cultural contact? Not only will visitors be able to see the artifacts and learn about the culture of this extinct group, but they will also learn how archaeologists and collaborating specialists work to unravel the mysteries posed by these remains. The exhibit will be complemented by resources for formal education programs. NHM will develop 1) an on-line presentation that will include "virtual" elements of the archaeology sites and materials, 2) teacher enhancement activities, 3) curriculum materials for older elementary and secondary students, and a menu of non-formal lectures, classes, and a symposium. The museum will also produce a comprehensive, fully illustrated catalogue in both printed and digital formats. The exhibit will have five venues. It is expected to reach between 150,000 and 300,000 people at each venue.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

James Olson, Principal Investigator, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
Adam Kessler, Co-Principal Investigator, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
Vincent Beggs, Co-Principal Investigator, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
Dolkun Kamberi, Co-Principal Investigator, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 9725768
Funding Amount: 84691


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Elementary School Children (6-10) | General Public | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Geoscience and geography | History | policy | law | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Informal | Formal Connections | K-12 Programs | Media and Technology | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Programs | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media