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Field Museum Presents Exhibition that Reveals Art and Science Behind Prized Mineral: Gold
A Byzantine gold Histamenon Nomis coin (1028-1034 AD) with a depiction of emperor Romanus III being crowned by the Virgin Mary. On the reverse, Christ enthroned. © Craig Chesek /AMNH.
CHICAGO, IL.- One of the rarest and most highly prized minerals in the world is on display in a dazzling, comprehensive exhibition at The Field Museum (October 22 – March 6, 2011). Gold, the exhibition, explores the historical fascination with this enduring symbol of wealth, beauty, and power.

One of the most wide-ranging exhibitions ever on this valued mineral, Gold features a dramatic array of 560 extraordinary geological specimens and cherished objects from around the world – 57 natural specimens, 147 culture-based pieces, 329 coins, and 28 gold bars and ingots – and presents the intriguing scientific and societal story behind this cherished metal. In one gallery, visitors step into a 300-square-foot room completely covered in a mere three-ounce piece of gold flattened to exquisite thinness.

Gold objects holding great significance to Chicagoans will also be on display including the White Sox championship trophy.

The exhibition follows the path of gold – from its origins deep in the Earth, to glittering examples of jewelry and artifacts that captivated ancient civilizations. Visitors will learn about the gold rushes of ancient times that literally shaped our world, as well as modern pop-culture baubles that mesmerize younger generations. Experience firsthand the attraction and splendor of some of the finest gold specimens on Earth, and learn how gold has been found, mined, processed, and turned into objects both beautiful and useful.

Exhibition highlights include large nuggets of gold, and specimens of rare crystallized gold. More treasures on display include the first gold coins minted in ancient Lydia and Ionia (now Turkey), gleaming pre-Columbian jewelry, and rare doubloons retrieved from sunken Spanish galleons. Compelling modern objects in the exhibition include Susan Sarandon’s Academy Award Oscar®, Harrison Ford’s Golden Globe®, and Emmy® awards for both Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw.

Throughout the exhibition, visitors discover gold’s amazing physical properties: extreme malleability, reflectivity, and conductivity. Gold is invaluable for technological uses from telephones and televisions to satellite circuitry.

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