We recently attended the traveling exhibit Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology at the National Geographic Museumin Washington, DC. The exhibit, running through the new year at NatGeo, is a mix of props and costumes from all four Indy movies, as well as actual artifacts from archaeological digs. 

In addition to what would already be an interesting exhibit, the exhibit does something I’ve never seen before – as you walk to its entrance,every attendee is handed a tablet and a pair of headphones. Almost every single piece int he exhibit has a number coordinating to it. When that number is entered into the tablet, visitors get either an audio or a video companion to the prop/costume/artifact on display.  

The exhibit itself is one of the most comprehensive I’ve ever been to – in addition to having each of Indy’s “macguffins” on display, you get to see a ton of props and costumes, all lovingly displayed and refreshed, production art and matte paintings – as an Indy fan, it was a dream come true to be inches away from the ark of the covenant, and the sankara stones. 

The way the exhibit incorporates the actual artifacts makes their stories immediately more interesting. It alternates between a movie in the series, then to “real world adventure archaeology,” and back again. As a result, the connective thread of adventure made me want to know more about these real archaeologists who inspired one of the best movie heroes of all time. 

Plan to spend hours in the exhibit – with the audio/video component, you’ll find yourself spending at least a minute or two at each item, and before you know it, hours will have passed. And despite it being a museum and a large exhibit, I think it’s a good family excursion – I saw a ton of kids there, and I think that the tablet portion of the experience helps to hold their attention. 

If you can, get out to the Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology exhibit, and try to coordinate it with a day where they have one of their events – they regularly do an Indiana Jones themed happy hour, followed by a screening of one of the movies. In addition, local bars partner with NatGeo and have Indy themed drinks. For more information, or to get tickets, check out ngmuseum.org!