“Genghis Khan”

Talk about a guy with an image problem — even the PR geniuses of Mad Men couldn’t overcome Genghis Khan’s rep. Mostly because the name Genghis Khan immediately brings to mind a raping, pillaging barbarian with Dimebag Darrell-like facial hair. “I suspect that most of us have a negative connotation with [Khan], and there’s no denying that his empire came about as the result of bloody conquest,” says Houston Museum of Natural Science Curator of Anthropology Dirk van Tuerenhout in press materials.

But there’s more to the murderer, as you’ll see at the exhibit “Genghis Khan.” The 13th-century Mongolian leader, who conquered three times more land than Caesar or Alexander the Great, also created the first national parks and postal system. And skis, hamburgers and passports all originated in his kingdom.

Still, van Tuerenhout says that the leader’s incredible organizational and military skills — along with political foresight — are what really kept him on top. This exhibit, making its world premiere here, features more than 200 artifacts from the era of his reign, including costumes, instruments, jewelry and even a recently unearthed, mummified murder victim. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Through September 7. Houston Museum of Natural Science, 1 Hermann Circle Drive, in Hermann Park. For information, call 713-639-4629 or visit www.hmns.org. $18 to $22.

Feb. 27-Sept. 7, 2009


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