Unlocking the Middle East- Original Special Exhibition Opening at the Nixon Library

    “We must not allow the cradle of civilization to become its grave. That is what is at stake in the Mideast.”
-Richard Nixon, September 8, 1968

    With the Middle East once again wracked by violence, this timely exhibit reflects the enduring importance of the question Richard Nixon posed in 1968: will the cradle of civilization become its grave?
    More than 5,000 years ago, modern civilization began to develop in the region we now know as the Middle East. Ancient peoples organized into many of the first cities and states. Political, economic, and social structures that are familiar in the 21st century were born. A new special exhibit, THE ANCIENT WORLD: Unlocking the Middle East, will examine the 20th century conflict and Cold War tensions through the prisms of ancient Israel, Persia, and Egypt
    The growth of civilization in the region was often accompanied by violence. The Middle East gave birth to the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Although they have long embraced a spirit of peace, they, too, have not been immune to conflict over the centuries.
     In this special exhibit, visitors will be immersed in the history of the region, from thousands of years ago until the 20th century.  They will visit a street market in Jerusalem, walk through the courtyard of a Persian palace, and enter the tomb inside an Egyptian pyramid.
    As guests take in these ancient sites, they will encounter more than 60 age-old artifacts, many exhibited for the first time
    Moving from the ancient to the modern, visitors will reflect on the beginning of Western interest in –and exploration of– the region. In a university library, visitors will learn about Western Europe’s growing interest in the ancient Middle East. An Arab headcloth worn by the iconic explorer Lawrence of Arabia, never exhibited in the United States, will be on loan from the Royal Geographical Society in London.
    The many regional conflicts of the 20th century will be covered in detail. Visitors will see, for the first time ever, equipment from the famous hotline linking Washington and Moscow which was used by President Nixon and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev during the tense days of the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
     At a time when news from the Middle East dominates the headlines, this exhibit takes visitors on a journey across miles and millennia to the very roots of civilization to gain deeper understanding and context for modern conflicts.
    The Ancient World: Unlocking the Middle East opens July 15, 2024, for a limited time. Admission to the special exhibit is included with admission to the Nixon Library. The Nixon Library is open seven days a week from 10 AM to 5 PM.   



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