Indiana Jones in Chicago
Several years ago I went to the Oriental Museum at the University of Chicago. I was staying at the Omni Hotel on Michigan Avenue (of which Oprah Winfrey is part owner). It’s a great hotel, if you decide to stay there get a window over looking Michigan Avenue. It’s worth it. My wife was off to see a good friend — so I went exploring. My destination was the Oriental Museum at the University of Chicago. The word Oriental is an antiquated name. It’s a word that got used a lot in the 20s and 30s, and I believe has got replaced by the word ‘Asian.’ When I was on Michigan Avenue to my surprize the streets were filled with people all walking south. Something was going on in the city, and to my surprize I witnessed what is on this following video. Yes, Oprah took over Michigan Avenue and was conducting a ‘Flash Mob.’ If you don’t know what a ‘Flash Mob’ is…it’s where a bunch of people show up at a certain location and…dance! Why did I include it in the post? Well, it was just so wonderful and it sets the day and mood for my adventure. Anyway, why can’t a blog post have a little music?
Did I join in?
I PASSED UP OPRAH TO GO TO THE ORIENTAL MUSEUM OF CHICAGO! Am I a geek or what?
Here are the directions if you want to get there from downtown. Its about $2.50 cents – due south on the lake.
YES! I MISSED A LIVE PERFORMANCE OF BLACK EYED PEAS!
These are directions from the Chicago Transit Authority website:
The CTA #6 Jackson Park Express bus will take you from downtown Chicago to Hyde Park. Catch the bus southbound on State Street in the Loop. Get off at 57th or 59th Street, walk under the train tracks, and continue west to the campus
This area has an interesting history to it. For one, President Obama has a house around here; for two, in the movie ‘Home Alone’ the church scene was filmed here; and for three, the first chain reaction of fission took place on the campus of the University of Chicago. Yes, the first atomic reaction happened in Chicago!
The School takes you back in time for it has a gothic style architecture. The University of Chicago is right on the lake. This is how a university should look like. If I go to a school I want to see the higher learning reflected in the gothic pallisades. I want knowledge rising up on my left and right in the rising spires. The University reminds me of Oxford (another place I wish I attended school) and has the “dreaming spires” to prove it. This was not the first time I visited. I think while growing up I must have come six or seven times over the years. Visiting the Oriental Museum was considered a treat while we were growing up. It was an adventure.
The museum is like something that you would see Indiana Jones walking through. You can imagine that he has a desk here, off in a corner office on the second floor. You can imagine him with notebook and pen staring at artifacts and scribbling down his interpretations of ancient script of just where that ‘holy grail’ disappeared.
The Oriental Institute Museum is a world-renowned showcase for the history, art, and archaeology of the ancient Near East. The museum displays objects recovered by Oriental Institute excavations in permanent galleries devoted to ancient Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, and the ancient site of Megiddo, as well as rotating special exhibits.
You walk under a stone relief over the lintel of the wood lined door. It has the ancients handing over knowledge to modern man. Did anyone tell ‘modern man’ that he should wear a shirt? OK…artistic license…got it. Once inside , like all museums, you are in an echo chamber. Any conversations are quieted by the sheer magnitude of the place. History is really on display here.
Prepare to be placed in awe! Staring at you, and indicating how little you matter in the eyes of the gods is the following sight. You are entering history, and history is staring you in the face.
To see the bull in person is worth the trip. The detail and granduer is beyond belief. Now, here is something to think about. In front of the bull (across the room) are some glass cases. When your there look at the bull, and then move to the glass cases and stare down at the delicate work of glass jars and jewelery that are on display. These were a people of high technological advancement…in the LARGE and in the small. The evidence is there, you just have to use your eyes.
The earliest evidence dates early remains of Persepolis as 515 b.c. Cyrus the Great may have chose the site, but it was Darius the Great that built the great palaces. When you look at the bull you can IMAGINE the great palaces.
Now, the next part is the greatest exhibit the museum has to offer. It is worth the trip, and they have lit it for the full effect. Bring your camera, and definitely bring your imagination.. I want you to pretend that you lived thousand of years in the past.
You are ambassador from another country. You have traveled over sea and desert to visit the kingdom of the east. You are in the kingdom of Sargon the Great. You are led through antechambers and courtyards. And finally you are led into the royal courtyard and this is what you see!
Want to see a marriage contract between a man and woman that is thousands of years old? It’s there! Want to see an account of a union that walked off the job? It’s there as well. Want to see an account of the great Nubian Empire? These guys kicked ass and their history is on display! Want to see how the ancient kings played and entertained guests? Forget television, postcards and youtube videos…theses guys set their pleasures IN STONE! I could have embedded a youtube video of this place in the post, to make you feel that you have already been there. Don’t search for one. I strongly suggest that you go there in the flesh. Put the Oriental Museum on your list as a small little adventure for days that your not attending at a game at Wrigley Field, or when you have done the Magnificent Mile thing and are looking for something that not a lot of the other tourists do. Wait…you are not a tourist. You’re an explorer. Dust off your fedora…leave the bull whip at home…and search out the Jackson Park Express.