Sites & Sights — 11 May 2015
“Genghis Kahn: Bring the Legend to Life” special exhibit comes to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

By Renée S. Gordon

Genghis Kahn, considered to have been one of the world’s greatest leaders, is the subject of a special exhibit that will make the first northeastern stop on an international tour.

Franklin InstituteThe special exhibit, “Genghis Kahn: Bring the Legend to Life,” will appear at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute from May 9, 2015 to January 3, 2016.

On display in a series of chronologically themed galleries are 200 objects, the largest single collection of 13th-Century Mongolian artifacts ever exhibited, many never before available for public viewing. The exhibition focuses on a view of Genghis’ role as warrior, political leader and innovative statesman. His legacy includes paper money, passports, tollbooths, and diplomatic immunity.

Born Temujin, “of iron,” in 1162, he experienced adversity in his youth beginning with the poisoning death of his father and his family’s exile in 1171. The following year he killed his half-brother during an altercation and at the age of ten was already a legend in the making. In 1206 he was given the title of Genghis Khan, ruler of the Mongols; three years later, he would embark on his first war outside of Mongolian borders. He led his forces in conquest until his death on August 18, 1227 at the age of 60.

During the height of his power he controlled an empire that covered 11 million square miles and was three times larger than that of either Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar. Within a period of 25 years he conquered more than the Romans did in 400 years. His domain remains the largest contiguous empire the world has ever known.

A seated Genghis Khan sculpture, a copy of one in the Mongolian capital, greets visitors at the entry and a five-minute orientation film provides details on his life. The main galleries are immersive, with videos, murals, docents and activity kiosks supplementing the artifacts. Cases and display areas are filled with an authentic ger, armaments, textiles, gold jewelry, household items and religious objects that visually document the 100-year rise and fall of the Mongolian Empire, from Genghis to Kublai Khan.

The exhibit concludes with a gallery dedicated to modern Mongolia, where 33 percent of the population is still nomadic and Genghis Khan continues to be revered as a great leader. In 2008 a complex was built that includes an exhibition hall beneath a 250-ton stainless steel statue. The 131-ft. tall equestrian statue is 45-miles from Ulaanbaatar. It is oriented toward his birthplace and a panoramic view is offered from the horse’s head.

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21 Plus Salute!

Once each month, The Franklin Institute offers creative evening programming exclusively for adults age 21 and older. 21 Plus Salute! “Science After Hours” is a series that shifts its focus among a different topics—from cocktail mixology to time travel. Each evening offers opportunities to explore The Franklin Institute’s hands-on exhibit spaces, plus experiments, games, live performances, surprising challenges, unexpected discoveries, cash bars, and more. Topics vary and tickets tend to sell out quickly.

More Information…

The Franklin Institute

Genghis-Khan Exhibit

21 Plus Salute! Science After Hours 

  • Also, search online social media #scienceafterhours

– Photos by Renée S. Gordon

Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.

Renee GordonRenée S. Gordon has written a weekly travel column for the Philadelphia Sun for the past 14 years and has published travel articles in numerous publications. Her columns focus on cultural, historic and heritage tourism and she specializes in sites and attractions related to African American and African Diaspora history. Renée serves as a consultant for educational trips and history-related tourist destinations. She considers herself a “missionary journalist” and as such she continues to promote heritage and sustainable tourism. She has been honored with several awards including the 2013 Recipient of African Diaspora World Tourism and Flame Keeper in Media Award for Travel Writing.

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