Children’s Museum Teaches About Religious Pilgrimages with ‘National Geographic Sacred Journeys’ Exhibit

By Daniel Schwen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Daniel Schwen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
New exhibit at Indianapolis Children’s Museum is packed with artifacts related to religious pilgrimages and world religions.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis have opened a new exhibit, “National Geographic Sacred Journeys,” which tackles the topic of religion through the eyes of five children who are Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Buddhist.  It shares stories of faith and pilgrimage from all parts of the world.

“National Geographic Sacred Journeys” creates a platform for families and children to observe, discuss and understand some of the sacred journeys made by people around the world.

The opening ceremony was honored by a group of Tibetan monks who were on a tour to US. In order to mark the opening of the exhibit, the monks gifted a ceremonial Tibetan scarf to Jeffrey Patchen, President and CEO of Children’s Museum.

According to the website of Children’s Museum, the “Sacred Journeys” exhibit covers pilgrimages such as the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Great Mosque in Mecca, the Ganges River in India, Bodh Gaya in India where Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, and more.

The exhibit occupies 7,000 square feet.

To enrich the experience, the museum also exhibits a large stone from the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a trunk Brigham Young carried from New York to Utah, a replica of the Shroud of Turin, a piece of Kiswah which drapes the Kaaba at the Great Mosque in Mecca, fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls from Qumran, Israel etc. Visitors are permitted to touch the stone from Jerusalem and view fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Apart from that, Jewish ritual objects that were taken into space by former astronaut David Wolf, the throne built for Dalai Lama and an artifact of Ganesh, considered as the Hindu God of good fortune, are also included in “Sacred Journeys.”

On September 19, Barrie Schwortz, an expert on the Shroud of Turin, will give two behind-the-scenes presentations on the cloth it is believed Jesus Christ was buried in. Schwortz also delivered a presentation at a Muslim convention last month.

The Director of Collections at the museum, Christian Carron, said their mission is to “introduce the community to religions, traditions and people from throughout the world” and it would make a “safe place for families and children to talk about religion.”

After previewing the exhibits, Erin Fleck, a member of the Children’s Museum noted, “It’s an eye-opening experience for sure.”

The new exhibit started on August 29 and will be open until February 2016.


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