I’ve been a big Indiana Jones fan for as long as I can remember. In fact, my love for Indy caused me to nearly major in anthropology in college— the closest to archaeology I could get at the time. I may be a simple English major nowadays, but I still love anything to do with history, archaeology, and adventure. So when The Discovery Science Center unveiled a special Indiana Jones exhibit last October, I knew I had to go.
Last Friday I finally went! And it was AMAZING. Nothing’s better for describing something than going to see it yourself, but I’ll do my best with a pro/con list summarizing my experience at the Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology exhibit. Pictures to show up in another post! (I still have to get them onto my computer, sorry!)
- They stagger people into the exhibit so it’s not too crowded. When you buy your ticket you pick a time, so pressumably it never gets too bad. We got into some crowded corners a few times, but mostly we were by ourselves.
- You get a neat audio/video thing. By typing in certain codes, you get audio tracks, short videos, and a TREASURE GAME to complete. It’s like a fancier version of an audio tour, and it comes wrapped in a very nice faux leather case (Indy-esque, I suppose?).
- Good mix of real life history plus movie history. There’s separate exhibits for real life stuff, including my favorite: the Hiram Bingham/Matthew Stirling section. Early 20th century adventure archaeologists, woohoo! In the movie sections, there’s little fact vs. fiction segments you can play on your a/v thing. It talks about what the movie did vs. what’s actually true— for example, the Thuggee cult in Temple of Doom was a real thing, and they really did sacrifice people.
- It takes a VERY long time to get through everything, if you listen to all the clips/watch ALL the videos, etc. We were in there for 2 hours and didn’t get through everything, so you definitely get your money’s worth. Plus there’s plenty of benches to sit on if you get tired!
- The props, replicas, and other movie-related stuff were beautiful and displayed well. My favorite was the costumes— the real ones!— including Willie’s beautiful beaded nightclub dress. Did you know it was made with real vintage beads and sequins? I also liked the various TV screens showing different clips from the movies (and National Geographic documentaries).
- The real life stuff was also neat! I really liked the pots and things, and the vintage National Geographic magazines were seriously cool.
- After the main exhibit, there’s interactive stuff you can do. For instance, there’s these cool pull-me-up chairs like they had to use in old digs to haul themselves around.
- It’s expensive! $4 for parking, $15 to get in, plus another $10 for the exhibit itself. It’s a lovely exhibit, and the rest of the museum seems well-kept, too, so you can understand the price…kinda. (I’m thinking of getting an annual pass, actually. One person is $60/year, and you get free admission plus discounts to special exhibits, the merchandise store, Taco Bell (inside the museum), and other benefits, too. PLUS a free guest pass for each visit!)
- Moving through the exhibit is a little confusing. There’s fake footsteps you follow through the first part, but if you try to (logically) follow the number codes in order, you’ll get lost.
- If you leave the exhibit, you can’t get back in. There’s no bathrooms back there, nor any water fountains. You can’t bring any food or drinks with you, so if you get really hungry/thirsty, you’re out of luck I guess.
- The merchandise is ALSO insanely expensive. $10.49 for some stickers! $20 for a t-shirt (actually, that’s probably not SO bad). There ARE some cheaper items, though, like postcards for $1.49 each and some nice pins for $1.99.
On the whole, I’d say it’s definitely worth going to the Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology exhibit. It’s SO neat, especially if you’re an Indy/archaeology fan. Sure, it’s expensive, but if you stay the whole day (and check out the rest of the museum, too) it’s not SO bad.
The exhibit is open until April 21st, so there’s still plenty of time to go!
(In May an exhibit about Da Vinci starts. If it’s as nice as this Indiana Jones exhibit was, I’m totally going. AND I’m going to spring for an annual pass. Yay, science!)