Embark on Marco Polo’s legendary Silk Road Journey in new exhibition at Fernbank Museum

08/21/2013  | 
Experiential Learning


Atlanta’s Fernbank Museum of Natural History brings the incredible 13th century travels, experiences and legends of Marco Polo to life in the special exhibition Marco Polo: Man and Myth, on view from Sept. 28, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014. Making its North American premiere at Fernbank, Marco Polo: Man and Myth highlights his epic 24 year journey from Venice to China along the Silk Road.

Students will learn that Marco Polo was far more than the inspiration for a game played around the pool. The exhibition introduces Marco and his experiences along the 13th century Silk Road, a vast and ancient network of routes extending from Asia to Europe. The son of a family of merchants, he set out from Venice in 1271 with his father and uncle on a trade voyage that would push the boundaries of the world as it was then known. This major exhibition includes rare and extraordinary objects from private collections and museums in Italy to reveal the cultural practices, artistic traditions, unique landscapes, and unusual animals he witnessed.




More than 80 objects, including coins, ceramics, artwork, maps, navigational tools and more, take visitors from his Venetian homeland to China. Following The Travels of Marco Polo — one of the most celebrated chronicles in the history of European travel literature — the exhibition reveals the many cultures he observed, highlights the impact of exchanging ideas along the Silk Road, and sheds light on his encounters inside the Mongol Empire, including the Court of Kublai Khan.

“Few people are aware that Marco Polo was only 17 when he left Venice on what might possibly be history’s greatest father-son road trip,” said Dr. Bobbi Hohmann, Fernbank Museum curator and anthropologist. “Like something we might see produced in Hollywood today, the Polos’ trip through Asia included bouts of unidentified illnesses, encounters with bandits and thieves, unusual customs and practices, and some of the most spectacular and harsh landscapes in the world.”

Both man and myth today, Marco Polo is forever recognized as the ultimate travel adventurer and his account remains one of the greatest travelogues ever written. On his deathbed at the age of 70, he is said to have declared, “I have only told half of what I saw.”

From the 13th century to the modern world, the amazing films in Fernbank’s IMAX® Theatre can also take your students on an exploration of the cosmos and to an island known as Penguin City.

Hidden Universe, showing daily from Sept. 6 - Jan. 2, takes students on a breathtaking tour of deep space through images captured by the world’s most powerful telescopes. Explore galaxies, travel the terrain of Mars, witness images of celestial structures, and peer deep inside vivid clouds of nebula.

Also showing in IMAX, and set against a backdrop of dramatic snowy peaks and glacial crags, Penguins follow a brave king penguin on the journey of a lifetime. This live-action film celebrates the destiny of a very special King Penguin, who returns to his birthplace journey through his species’ central rite of passage. Known as Penguin City, the island is home to hundreds of albatrosses, fur seals and brawling elephant seals — as well as six million penguins. Penguins shows daily in the IMAX Theatre from Sept. 6 - Jan. 2.

Learn more about Fernbank Museum of Natural History, including the world’s largest dinosaurs, hands-on exhibitions, archaeological treasures, cultural artifacts and more, at fernbankmuseum.org. To book a field trip, call 404.929.6306.Marco Polo is made possible by the support of The Rich Foundation, Inc. The exhibition is organized by Contemporanea Progetti of Florence, Italy and Expona, Bolzano, Italy in collaboration with the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.
Comments & Ratings

  9/19/2013 2:14:12 AM
abraham kurien 

New Comment 
With the spectacular rise of China and the transformation that is taking place in much of south East Asia and the Central Asian republics that are busy establishing regional networks that rival the WTO, students in the US or anywhere else in the globalized world of today are bound to get the best introduction to a balanced understanding of the existence of other cultures and ways of life by an introduction to the Silk Road legend. it is indeed a great educational service by the Atlanta Fernbank museum to make it possible for the young generation to re-live the days of Marco Polo the Man and the Myth. As a teacher in the Southernmost State of India, I feel thrilled by the students' wonderful opportunity to study History and Geography so meaningfully and so enrichingly. hearty Congratulations and best wishes!
Abraham Kurien
[email protected]
Kerala, India.