A Boy Scout Visitor Review

On the 6th of January, the ambitious Boy Scout Troop 1865 and the Girl Scout Troop 1099 went to the National Geographic museum in Washington D.C. to see the famous Terra Cotta Warriors. The Terra Cotta Warriors were originally discovered by farmers in the Chinese countryside outside the city of Xian (pronounced She-on). They were not uncovered until 1974 and were only thought to be a myth as almost all early records were destroyed by fire. Considered to be the 8th Wonder of the Ancient World, they were built over 36 years ago by over 700,000 workers with the purpose of protecting the emperor’s tomb who died in 210 BC.

This was done by the first emperor of China, which started the short lived Quin [pronounced Chin] Dynasty. Since the clay army was all but destroyed when the earth above the pits collapsed the early restoration on each Terra Cotta solider took one whole year to be put back together completely. Each soldier weighs from 300-400 lbs and the horses over 700. So it was not an easy job to move them into the pits to hide them and today it is kind of like Humpty Dumpy, but there were originally 7,000 to put back together again!

Our group was over 115 Scouts and parents that went to this is a once in a lifetime event to see the real thing. Once you first got into the exhibit, you were greeted by a real Cavalryman, a horse and a lot of information presented in an orderly fashion which was not overwhelming. Since I was fortunate enough to visit and see the real Army in Xian [She-on’], it was really nice to see some of the statues up close. This is because in Xian, you just saw the whole army in 3 aircraft hanger like buildings but you were given no information and you viewed from a distance. Also, only a few of the soldiers were encased in glass but it is so dark, the well lit the exhibit at the National Geographic museum was a special treat. But in D.C. at the National Geographic you did not get the sense of the actual scale of the huge excavation site. The thing I really liked about the exhibit was the fact that the information was given in good detail and it was very well organized. Not boring! In D.C., there were many small artifacts about early Chinese life and many items that were here you did not see at the site in Xian. The National Geographic exhibit was very interactive made by the playing games and solving puzzles. Also, you could get up close to the actual soldiers not separated by smudged glass in dark corners like in Xian. Many Scouts took time to soak in the history and loved it while the others hurried by. I am 13 years old and it is hard to think that Quin [Chin] Shi Huangdi [Shee-Hwang-dee] began his rule and quest to unify China at the same age as me and my Scout friends. He ended up as the first Emperor of China. Equally amazing is that many of the things he did and changes he made are still used in China today 2000 years later. Finally, not one scout or parent had any complaints or was bored.

I would recommend this to anyone or troop as this exhibit is a must see. So, get your troops and packs out to see this once-in-a-lifetime exhibit at the National Geographic Society. Call this number 202-857-7281 and ask for Ms. Kornega or e mail kkornega@ngs.org to advance book your tickets. But hurry, this exhibit ends March 31st and remember, you need to book your tickets in advance.

Mikael-Erik Severeid, Troop 1865


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