Written by travel  |  13. April 2008

The American Museum of Natural History is one of New York City's treasures, and what's even better is it keeps coming up with striking special exhibitions that make you want to return again and again. The horse has played a key role in humankind's history and development down through the ages, and a new exhibit at AMNH will pay tribute to the relationship of man and the horse and examine the origins of the horse family, dating back more than 50 million years. The trailblazing exhibition, "The Horse" will open at the museum May 17, and run through January 4, 2008. It will explore early interactions between the horse and humans that eventually led to the horse being domesticated, to aid humans in work, transportation, warfare, sport and companionship. "The Horse" will showcase spectacular fossils and cultural objects from around the world, many from the museum's own extraordinary collections. Other highlights will include a diorama showing several horse species that lived ten million years ago; examples of the horse depicted in art, from the Paleolithic Age to the present; horse gear and armor from 15th-century Germany; and a horse-drawn fire engine from the 19th century. Exciting new archaeological discoveries will shed light on the domestication of the horse, and historical artifacts will trace the role of horses in sport from early forms of fox hunting to modern polo, the Triple Crown thoroughbred races, and the Olympics. Numerous interactive stations throughout the exhibition--including videos, interactive computers, hands-on activities, and touchable casts--will invite visitors to measure their strength in horsepower; examine different gaits of a horse by looking through a zoetrope (a precursor to the modern movie projector); and learn about the latest developments in the study of horse biology and the role of the horse in modern society. Throughout the exhibition, visitors will see unusual objects and be asked to identify them, including such items as a Roman horse shoe, a stirrup, a bit ornament, and a whip used in buzkashi, a sport on horseback played in Central Asia. "The Horse" is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org), in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage; The Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau-Ottawa; The Field Museum, Chicago; and The San Diego Natural History Museum. "The Horse" exbibit at the American Museum of Natural History is made possible, in part, by the Eileen P. Bernard Exhibition Fund. Other upcoming exhibits at the museum include "Saturn," opening April 26, and "Lizards and Snakes Alive!" returning May 24. Additional current exhibits include "Cosmic Collisions" at the Hayden Planetarium; "Butterflies Alive"; and the large-format film, "Dinosaurs Alive!" The American Museum of Natural History is open daily from 10 AM to 5:45 PM. The Rose Space Center is open till 8:45 PM on the first Friday of every month. The museum is located at 79th Street and Central Park West, and easily accessible from Penn Station via the No. 1 train on the IRT Subway, or the B (weekdays only) or C trains on the IND line. For further information or to purchase tickets, log on to www.amnh.org , or call (212) 769-5100.

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