Beginning in 138 B.C., the legendary Silk Road linking Xian, China, to cities west of Asia, including Rome and Baghdad, was a route of transport for people, trade goods (including silk, of course) and ideas for almost 1,500 years. The route and its impact on commerce and culture are explored in "Secrets of the Silk Road," on view at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. "Secrets" features more than 150 objects, but the big draw will likely be two incredibly well-preserved Chinese mummies. One is an eerily beautiful lady, 3,800 years old with unexpected Caucasian features, who has been called "one of the most important human remains ever found." "They share similar visible traits with people from Europe and Eurasia, including round eye sockets, and blond or red hair," says exhibit curator Dirk van Tuerenhout. "They're different from Egyptian mummies because they represent common people, not rulers. Moreover, their bodies were preserved without any special preparation of the mortal remains." 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays. Through January 2. 5555 Hermann Circle Drive. For information, call 713-639-4629 or visit www.hmns.org. $18 to $25.
Mondays-Sundays. Starts: Aug. 27. Continues through Jan. 2, 2010