Interactive Children's Exhibition At Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum will open a new children's exhibition, Archaeology Zone: Discovering Treasures from Playgrounds to Palaces, to the public on Sunday, October 14, 2007. In this engaging and thoroughly interactive experience, children become archaeologists as they search for clues about ancient and modern objects. Visitors will discover what happens after archaeologists unearth artifacts and bring them back to their labs for in-depth analysis.

Visitors ages 3 through 10 will magnify, sketch and weigh objects from the past and the present, piece together clay fragments, interpret symbols, and dress in costumes. By examining these artifacts and imagining how people used these objects in their daily lives, children can learn how forms have changed and evolved over time, and how these objects relate to their own lives. Archaeology Zone will remain on view through June 15, 2009.

On October 14 - the exhibition's opening day - visitors to Archaeology Zone will also be able to enjoy a related family gallery tour (11:15 am) and drop-in art workshop (from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm). These activities are free with Museum admission.

Archaeology Zone: Discovering Treasures from Playgrounds to Palaces begins with an introductory animated video telling the story of an ancient jug handle over time, from its origins in a palace to the archaeological dig where it was discovered.

Four questions will help guide children and their families through the exhibition: Where did it come from?, .What is it?, When was it made?, and Why was it made? In the first section of the show, children will be able to closely analyze such artifacts as a jar handle, a clay jug, and a bangle. They will be encouraged to pay careful attention to size, weight, texture and color, and make drawings while learning more about the objects and their origins. In the next section, visitors will guess the function of items such as a Greek helmet and a vessel in the shape of a bull.

To learn how old objects are, children will study a wall recreating four strata (layers under the ground where artifacts are found), featuring objects from the year 1000 BCE to the present day. Through a large-scale puzzle activity, children will determine when objects were made by comparing giant puzzle pieces depicting contemporary and ancient artifacts. A recreation of a home from the Ottoman period (c. 1900) will allow children to try on period costumes and see how families lived 100 years ago.

Visitors will examine symbols within a large reproduction of a zodiac mosaic from the Beth Alpha Synagogue (Israel, 6th century CE) – on view on the Museum's permanent exhibition, Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey – helping them to decipher the meaning of objects and symbols, both ancient and modern. Children can also create their own mosaic designs and symbols.

Archaeology Zone: Discovering Treasures from Playgrounds to Palaces was organized by Rachel Katz, Senior Manager of Family Programs at The Jewish Museum. The exhibition was designed by Amy Reichert, of Architecture + Design. Robin White Owen of MediaCombo in New York produced the animated video. -- www.thejewishmuseum.org