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National Museum visitors travel the Silk Road

30 March 2012

A major exhibition at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra will bring to life the Silk Road. Stretching from China to eastern Europe, the Silk Road was the most celebrated trade route for more than a thousand years.

Travelling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World, which opens at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra on Saturday March 31 until 29 July, 2012, is organised by the American Museum of Natural History.

The exhibition transports visitors to four ancient cities: Xi"an, the capital of China's Tang Dynasty; Turfan, an oasis and trading post along the Silk Road; Samarkand, a prosperous centre of the caravan trade; and Baghdad, a cosmopolitan hub of commerce and scholarship that flourished as a leading intellectual centre of the time.

"Travelling the Silk Road is an immersive experience for all the family. Visitors will feel a part of the adventure and exotic experiences of the journey. They will gain a sense of why this trade route has become famous in the story of world civilisations", said Andrew Sayers, Director of the National Museum of Australia.

Travelling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World presents a huge replica of the prow of a dhow - an Arabian sailing ship; rare and beautiful instruments for studying the night sky; silk robes, curtains, lanterns, a silk loom and a musical interactive where visitors can activate the sounds of drums, cymbals, flutes and other instruments.

The exhibition explores the idea that the Silk Road was the information superhighway of its time. Trade was not only in objects but in ideas, beliefs and technologies that are the heritage of all mankind.

Travelling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World will be on display at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra from 31 March - 29 July 2012. Admission charges apply. For more information about the exhibition visit: nma.gov.au/exhibitions/travelling_the_silk_road/home

This exhibition is organised by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org) in collaboration with Azienda Speciale Palaexpo, Roma, Italy, and Codice Idee per la cultura srl, Torino, Italy; and the Museum of Marina Sands, Singapore; and the National Museum of Australia, Canberra, Australia and Art exhibitions Australia; and the National Museum of Natural Science, Taichung, Taiwan and United Daily News, Taipei, Taiwan.

For interviews, images and more information please contact Dennis Grant on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481; Caroline Vero on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or media@nma.gov.au