Genghis Khan Invades HMNS – This Friday

Genghis Khan is back – with a vengeance. He’s popped up in a best-selling book, an award-winning movie - and now, a world premiere exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

During his life, Genghis Khan conquered more of the globe than any other man – including popular favorites Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great. His fame and repute lasted for centuries: in The Canterbury Tales‘ longest story, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote of him –  

This noble king was called Genghis Khan
Who in his time was of so great renown
That there was nowhere in no region
So excellent a lord in all things.
He lacked nothing that belonged to a king
As of the sect of which he was born
He kept his law, to which he was sworn.
And thereto he was hardy, wise and rich
And piteous and just, always liked;
Soothe of his word, benign and honorable,
Of his courage as any center stable;
Young, fresh and strong, in arms desirous
As any bachelor of all his house.
A fair person he was and fortunate,
And kept always so well royal estate
That there was nowhere such another man.
This noble king, this Tartar Genghis Khan.

Compare this admiring portrayal to Genghis Khan in modern (OK, 80′s) pop culture. Or, what we think we all “know” of him - as the cunning barbarian who spread terror across Asia.  


In reality, Genghis Khan was also the brilliant architect of one of history’s most advanced civilizations. Though he was raised in a climate of brutal tribal warfare, he forbade looting and torture. Though unable to read, he gave his people a written language and a sophisticated society, with fair taxation, free trade, stable government, and freedom of religion and the arts.


Now, you can discover the real Genghis in our newest special exhibition, opening Friday – the largest-ever presentation of 13th century treasures related to his life. More than 200 spectacular artifacts will be on display, including the first-ever printing press and paper money, imperial gold, silk robes and sophisticated weaponry of the world’s most visionary ruler and his descendants.

Plus – we’re giving away cool stuff. Check out the exhibition web site for details on how to enter the “Conquer Your Fears” giveaway, and learn more about exhibition-related events. Hope to see you there!

Game Day: Moving a 6-ton fossil

Last week a colleague commented in her post on this blog that she’s ridiculously excited about the debut of Leonardo. The entire Houston Museum of Natural Science team echoes her sentiments.

It’s been a challenging couple of weeks since Ike’s wrath came upon our city. The museum was closed to the public for about five days due to the storm’s aftermath.  We were left without power; therefore, the opening date of Dinosaur Mummy CSI: Cretaceous Science Investigation was delayed until Sept. 26 (originally scheduled to open Sept.19).

Now we’re up and running and it’s only 23 hrs. and about 10 minutes until visitors are able to see Leonardo on display. It took a lot to get him here—a special palette; a very heavy fork lift; an air cushioned tractor trailer; a crane; along with our very own dynamic paleontology staff and outstanding support from supreme moving specialists. As Dr. Bakker says, “Moving a fossil is like moving a piece of art.”

In this video, we thought we would give you a rare peek of what David Temple calls “Game Day,”— moving Leonardo, a 77 million-year-old adult duckbilled dinosaur, from our off-site facility to the museum.

Check out the other videos in this series:
The mummified dinosaur Leonardo: too good to be true?
Mapping a dinosaur with Dr. Robert Bakker.
First in a paleontologist’s toolkit: glue.
Or, check out our channel on YouTube for even more video.