Indianapolis Children’s Museum: Terra Cotta Warriors Exhibit #TCMChina2014 #atTCM

Indianapolis Children's Museum Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit

Terra Cotta Warriors Children's Museum #TCMChina2014 #atTCMRecently, my youngest daughter, along with a friend and her mom, experienced an exhibit on China’s Terra Cotta Warriors at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.

What? You say you don’t know about the Terra Cotta Warriors?

Friend, I am not here to judge you. I must confess that my entire knowledge of Chinese history consists in the reading of a paperback called “China” that Mr. Thompson assigned in seventh grade social studies. I remember dutifully reading the book each night, looking at the non-compelling black-and-white photos, and copying down the notes he wrote on the board each day. But, to quote Flannery O’Connor:

Total non-retention has kept my education from being a burden to me.

About five years ago, we visited Epcot. In the China exhibit, people were oohing and ahhing over the terra cotta warriors. I joined in, sneaking in a quick read of the helpful plaques stationed around the area.

So, at least I had a little bit of background knowledge when we arrived at the visually beautiful exhibit.

Indianapolis Children's Museum Terra Cotta Warriors exhibitI learned that the warriors were commissioned by China’s first emperor (that would be Qin Shi Huang — I know, I know — it was just on the tip of your tongue), and that he wanted these 8000 warriors buried with him to protect him in the afterlife. Thousands worked to make them,  for over 30 years.

Indianapolis Children's Museum Terra Cotta Warriors exhibitAnd you can actually see some of them here — the real things! Along with “100 ancient artifacts.” Eh, I dunno about you, but “ancient artifacts” often ends up being vases and pieces of pottery. And while I love museums and learning, whenever I enter the area with those items, my eyes just kind of glaze over.

But back to the warriors. They’re very cool, very detailed, very … large. And, did you know that originally they didn’t look this color at all? They were painted, to look something like this:

Indianapolis Children's Museum Terra Cotta Warriors exhibitBut, when the statues were uncovered, the paint faded away within seconds. Now they’re using scientific processes to try to conserve some of the original colors.

Indianapolis Children's Museum Terra Cotta Warriors exhibitJust amazing to imagine so many of these together, and (sadly, in my opinion), all created just to be buried for a few thousand years before they were found. The exhibit also featured some brief films that helped you picture them in all their massive glory. It’s no wonder that many consider the terra cotta warrior army to be the eighth wonder of the world.

Indianapolis Children's Museum Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit slideOf course, being a children’s museum, there were elements that were just plain fun. How fun was the Great Wall of China slide? Answer: a lot! Friend’s mom and I even went down it!

And the museum featured lots more than just the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit. There was a neat complementary exhibit on modern-day China, called “Take Me There: China.” You began by entering a “plane” and the pilot talked to us about the country as we could view various landmarks through the windows. It was really creative. Then we exited the plane into China and got to walk through a typical Chinese home (very spare; not a lot of clutter) and learn about various aspects of Chinese culture.

Indianapolis Children's Museum China

Making Chinese characters in the Take Me There: China exhibit

The museum also features a wonderful exhibit with life-size dinosaur models.

Indianapolis Children's Museum dinosaursThe view of the dinosaurs and the vast sky (from a higher overlook) is truly awe-inspiring.

We loved our day at the museum! I recommend it if you’ll be anywhere near Indianapolis. The terra cotta warrior exhibit will be there through November 2.



4 thoughts on “Indianapolis Children’s Museum: Terra Cotta Warriors Exhibit #TCMChina2014 #atTCM

  1. The entire museum is the best around… matter your child’s age…..or yours☺️

  2. My son and his wife often take the grandbabies to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. And my younger son is going to Indiana soon. I’ll make sure they all know about this. I did know about the terra cotta warriors and found them fascinating, but I did not know they were ever painted brilliant colors!

  3. I confess I never even heard of the terra cotta warriors, so this is all new to me, but it sounds very interesting. I’m glad you enjoyed it. How did it compare with the Titanic exhibit?

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