Winter Exhibits at Missouri Museums

January 2, 2020

Winter in Missouri can draw you outdoors for fun on brisk sunny days or drive you indoors when the weather turns unpleasant. Those are the perfect days to explore new worlds, new art and new people at exhibits around the state.

If the name Genghis Khan brings to mind a bloodthirsty barbarian, plundering and raping his way to world domination – the Kansas City Union Station exhibit of "Genghis Khan: Bringing the Legend to Life" is an absolute don't-miss.

This world-class exhibition is an eye-opener, tackling misperceptions about the first Great Khan and Mongolian culture by introducing visitors to the truth behind the myth.

Let's play a game of "Three Truths and a Lie" and see how your idea of Genghis Khan measures up to the man:

1) He is often called the Great Civilizer.

2) He created the first passport.

3) He was a Buddhist who spread his religion in conquered lands.

4) He's the reason we have violins and forks.

    There is no doubt Genghis Khan (and the name is actually pronounced with a soft g – jeng-iss) was a great warlord who united the many tribes of his area before moving west. But that reputation barely scratches the surface of the man or his impact on the world, even today. For example, the lie among the truths is that he spread Buddhism; he actually instilled religious freedom throughout his lands.

    As you move throughout the exhibit, join Temujin (his birth name) through his difficult youth, his dramatic accomplishments, his mysterious death and his lasting legacy. Of course, you'll find a variety of weapons of war, including the recurve bow that his horsemen used so effectively. But there is also beautiful traditional clothing, musical instruments, pottery and writings. More than 200 artifacts from 13th century Mongolia – almost all from private collections – are on display.

    Be sure to schedule your visit to coincide with the performances of traditional Mongolian music, dance and art. The music is expressive and moving, and the art is breathtaking.

    You are sure to be dazzled by the combination of wisdom, culture and beauty that came from the rule of the man many have deemed one of the greatest warlords the world has ever seen.

    "I have experienced the sorrow of defeat. But Genghis Khan was never defeated." – Napoleon Bonaparte

    "Genghis Khan: Bringing the Legend to Life" runs through April 26 at Union Station in Kansas City.

    Some other Missouri museums have fascinating special exhibits of their own that are perfectly designed to combat cabin fever or the winter blues.

    • The Missouri History Museum in St. Louis through April 18, 2021, shines a spotlight on America's greatest river in the exhibit "Mighty Mississippi." The exhibit uses a mix of historic objects, images and media to focus on the cultures that have grown and thrived around the river, from American Indian centers to the vast European/Indian fur trade networks to the Industrial Age with its steamboats, factories and immigration.
    • The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, through March 29: Queen Nefertari: Eternal Egypt. Discover the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Ramesses III, known as "The One for Whom the Sun Shines," and experience the magnificence of royal palaces and tombs. Nefertari's burial chamber is considered one of the greatest artistic achievements in the Valley of the Queens.
    • Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Feb. 6-May 24: Blood, Sweat and Tears depicts a community of heroic females doing the "heavy lifting and running things." Artist Summer Wheat's vibrantly colored large-scale paintings resemble medieval tapestries showing female figures as hunters, fishers and beekeepers and emphasizes the relationship between drawing, painting and sculpture.
    • Springfield Art Museum, through Feb. 23: Randy Bacon: The Road I Call Home. You cannot help but be moved by this exhibit of portraits of homeless individuals living in Springfield – portraits that emphasize beauty, identity and integrity. Each photo is accompanied by a narrative as told by the subject, sharing their personal story of homelessness.

    Museum of Art and Archaeology, Columbia, March 3-June 21: The Art of Death. The exhibition stems from research into viewer reactions to death imagery in the arts and includes such themes as funerals, personifications of death, suicide and martyrdom, among others. Various 2D media and antiquities associated with funerals and religious aspects of death are featured.

    Written by Barb Brueggeman

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