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Centuries later, his name is still known. OMSI is featuring him -- as coronavirus restrictions permit

DAVID F. ASHTON - Wearing a traditional Mongolian gown and headdress, Uyanga Gankhuyag is one of three Mongolian musicians performing at the Genghis Kahn exhibition.Although taking a trip to a distant exotic location may be out of the question these days, depending upon what the coronavirus restrictions may be at any given time you might be able to travel through space and time to 13th-century Mongolia – through stories, historical artifacts, and live performances at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), while learning about one of the world's most controversial leaders, at "The Life and Legacy of Genghis Khan".

The current exhibit tells the story of Genghis Khan – a poor, fatherless, nomadic boy who developed the skills and cunning to establish the largest land empire ever to exist on Earth. That's what we learned from OMSI Feature Hall Assistant Manager Jennifer Powers during our visit. Go to the OMSI website to learn when you might be able to visit, also.

Live performances enhance Mongolia's cultural legacy

In an area of the exhibition, Powers introduced us to a trio from Mongolia, who play music in their traditional clothing throughout each day.

"I feel very happy and excited doing this, because everywhere we travel, we take our homeland with us – sharing our traditions, our music, and our dance and art customs from Genghis Khan's homeland," said troupe leader Gankhauyag Natsag.

"The best part of doing this, for me, is that since 2009, we have been able to present our performances at exhibitions across North America – letting people to see, hear, and enjoy some our culture," Natsag remarked.

Genuine artifacts, not reproductions

While some historical exhibits are filled with reproductions – as authentic-looking as they may be – that's not the case here. The new OMSI presentation, assembled by Exhibits Rex, Inc., was developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It's replete with genuine objects on loan from numerous museums and collectors. One such collector is Traveling Managing Curator Francis Boid.

DAVID F. ASHTON - Traveling Exhibition Curator Francis Boid, an arms and armor collector, stands at a scene depicting how Genghis Khans army would have looked, as they approached a battlefield."The Life and Legacy of Genghis Khan" exhibition presents about 300 authentic artifacts, ranging from rare and sophisticated weapons to costumes, jewels, ornaments, instruments, and numerous other Mongolian relics.

A multi-faceted exhibition

"This exhibit explores what it was like during the Mongol Empire, and, the timeline of Genghis Khan," Powers told THE BEE. "People who come will get to learn about Genghis Khan in an unbiased way, and be able to make their own decision about his place in history, and what his legacy means today."

The exhibit is more than just a glimpse of artifacts, Powers remarked – but instead, it's an immersive experience that takes one through the rise of the Mongol Empire, through six key scenes and eight unique galleries:

· The Grasslands: Discover the daily life of a nomad.

· Rise of the Mongols: Learn how Genghis Khan united warring tribes in order to form an unrivaled cavalry.

· The Walled City: Enter the recreation of Karakorum, when arts and diverse religions and cultures flourished as the need for war subsided.

· The Silk Road: Explore this vital trade route which enabled the exchange of both goods and ideas between cultures.

· The Palace of Kublai Khan: Go into the Chinese palace of Xanadu and see porcelain treasures and a sword with the emblem of a guardian of Marco Polo.

· Mongolia Today: Understand the distinctive nomadic culture of Genghis Khan's time which lives on, eight centuries after his rule.

"By learning about other cultures, we're broadening our worldview, hopefully – incorporating some of what we've learned into our own lives as well," Powers said.

"The Life and Legacy of Genghis Khan" will be on display at OMSI through February 15th.

Exhibit admissions are restricted, with staggered entry times, when state restrictions allow it to be open at all. Visitors are advised to determine the current status of the exhibit and to purchase tickets online, before you visit, so you won't be disappointed. The place to go online is – www.omsi.edu


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