Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas

Venues | Reviews | Other material


The Field Museum, Chicago. Hosts the exhibit from October 15, 2004 through February 13, 2005. Attractive, linear site summarizes the exhibit and its subject. See events and programs for exhibition-related happenings, including "An Evening with Isabel Allende" [!].

Houston Museum of Natural Science (June 11–September 6, 2004). Summary information with very catchy web design. Explore the Question and Answer and Links pages. The real gem here, however, is an extraordinary very high resolution collection of images, including both Bingham's and contemporary photos.

Yale's Peabody Museum. Short description and schedule. The Peabody's online store has a number of elegant posters and postcards from the exhibit. [mirror]

Amazon. Exhibition book, edited by Richard L. Burger and Lucy C. Salazar (blurbs by Yale's Peabody Museums and Yale UP.)

Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh (October 18, 2003 to January 4, 2004). Article by Robert J. Gangewere, from Carnegie magazine (Sept./Oct. 2003). Not as well-written as might be expected; the repeated allusions to the Incas as the "Romans" of South America grate.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science: Machu Picchu Press Kit. This appears to be all that remains of this stop. There is a small gallery.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (June 22 – September 7, 2003) press release, apparently all that remains from this stop.


"'Lost City' Yielding Its Secrets by John Noble Wilford, New York Times. Excellent long review article by the Time's science writer. Covers all the bases, including a wonderfully acid assessment by Burger of Bingham excavation notes, "[they] included more on what they were eating than what they were finding."

Athena Review exhibition report, by Kathleen Brody. Athena Review (v. 3, no. 4). Reviews the exhibition as a whole, mostly well. This part caught my eye:

"All of the videos, except one showing a reenactment of the solstice celebration, prominently feature the co-curators. This fact, like the exhibit's heavy reliance on high-tech media, gives the sense that the curators' primary concern was the presentation of their interpretations of the Machu Picchu finds, drawing attention away from the artifacts themselves."

Archaeology magazine review, "An Inca Aspen" by Lisa Hunter (May/June 2003). Notes that although elaborate reconstructions can "confuse the visitor as to what is authentic and what's not, but the Peabody's careful explanatory texts avoid this pitfall."

Video: Denver Post review by Ed Will (February 13, 2004). Good on how the exhibit came together from the excavation material, nearly as "forgotten" as Machu Picchu itself. Includes a short movie introducing the exhibit.

"Largest-ever Incas exhibit at the Peabody" by David Winger, Yale Herald (January 31, 2003)

Other material

Audio: Video: "Perspectives of Inca Legacy on Andean Cultures at the Sacred Valley" in conjunction with "Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas" exhibition curator Richard L.Burger gives an engaging talk about Bingham and Machu Picchu, with slides. Some of his insights are memorable:

"But he had one incredible bad piece of luck, which is that he was trained as a historian, and he found the one really important Inca site that was never mentioned in historical chronicles."
Note: There appears to be some trouble 30 minutes in, but it may be fixed by the time you visit.

Social Studies and Science curriculum guides (4th grade through high school) from Yale's Peabody Museum. Handouts, dozens of lesson plans, glossaries, maps—What an impressive set of resources! I particularly appreciated the focus on critical thinking, eg., in "Working with a Primary Source" and "Can You Solve the Mystery of Machu Picchu?" Although issues in conjunction with the Peabody Museum's exhibit "Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas" much of the material could be used without reference to the exhibit.

Audio: Interview with Dr. Karen Wise, the Los Angeles Natural History Museum curator, from the program "AirTalk" with Patt Morrison, from Southern California NPR station KPCC.

CSU Hayward Press release "National Exhibition Includes Machu Picchu Virtual Tour Created by Cal State Hayward Team." on the exhibit's "virtual reality" computer component.

"Inside Looking Out" by Joshua Mamis, New Haven Advocate (April 3, 2003), on "nature museums" and the the exhibit's innovative approach.

"Inca Melting Pot" by Alexandra Lane, Hartford Advocate (March 13, 2003). Short run-through.

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.

If you enjoy this site you may like this other site by me:

Hernando Cortés on the Web. Comprehensive guide to the Conqueror of Mexico, Hernando (or Hernán) Cortes.

Alexander the Great on the Web. Everything you ever wanted to know about Alexander, and pictures too.

Hieroglyphics! Comprehensive guide to Egyptian hieroglyphics.

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