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My trip to the San Diego Museum of Man

A museum is an institution that collects artistic documents, objects and artifacts with scientific and historical value. It is an open to public place that enables people to widely see and explore collections for the purpose of learning, education and enjoyment. Museums preserve collections and make them available for the benefit of public viewing.

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The San Diego Museum of Man is a museum that contains various artifacts related to anthropology. Anthropology is the study of human kind throughout time and across all cultures. It is the science that deals with the origin, behavior, and also the physical, social and cultural development of human beings. The San Diego Museum of man is a non profit institution that preserves life and history of human kind.

The San Diego Museum of Man is definitely a lot more impressive on the inside than the outside. After a long walk from the parking lot, I laid eyes on the old building and did not have high expectations. I merely thought of this as a `class project` something I `had to do`. Once inside I asked the ticket salesman where I could find the museum`s mission statement. He quickly pointed at a wall to the left side of the building, which read: `The museum of man gathers and shares discoveries of anthropologists.

Right underneath the mission statement was the first exhibit, the first humans (hominids). Hominids are human like creatures divided into Australopithecus known as the oldest and Homo known as the youngest. I remembered this from chapter one. The museum had an impressive exhibit that allowed for me to see and reinforce all that I had learned about the first humans. I liked the realistic displays that allowed for me to visualize what each hominid actually would have looked like. I liked the exhibit that compared the different tools used throughout time, from the earliest stone tools used by humans compared to those used now. I enjoyed the interactive exhibits. One in particular allowed for me to attempt to guess what group of hominid certain skulls belonged to. I learned that the cheek bones and eye sockets were used to identify.

I was also able to try to guess the age of remains. It was very interesting to see and actually get a chance to practice how this is done. The exhibit is unique in such a way that it allows the guest to actually touch almost all of its content. Inside the museum you can see yourself traversing millions of years, it is like you can actually see the way of life and the image of our ancestors. The museum not only offers a view about the past of human kind but its future as well. Visitors can also go through the human lab in which they can see a glimpse of the future of human evolution, the future of human race influenced by scientific innovations in the form of gene selection and cloning. It is like going through different worlds, the past and the future.

There was also a small exhibit on the ancient Egyptians whom I always find fascinating. I was able to view the ancient Egyptians way of life and learn the importance of anthropologist and archeologist in the understanding and interpretation of their culture. I was able to see some mummified remains of children which I have never actually seen before. The ancient Egyptians mummified their dead because of their belief that when someone died their soul would temporarily leave the body.

After the body was buried, the soul would then return and be reunited with the body. However, the soul needed to find and recognize the body for it to live forever. It is said that the earliest ancient Egyptians buried their dead in the desert letting the heat and dryness of the sand to dehydrate the bodies. This process of burying creates lifelike and natural mummies. Later the Egyptians began to bury their dead in coffins to protect them from the animals of the desert.

And then they developed a method of preserving bodies, the process include embalming the bodies and then wrapping them in strips of linen. Today, this process is known as mummification. This mummified remains and other rare artifacts for over 3,000 years old including coffins and amulets show the Egyptians concern for the after life and their value for their dead love ones. I enjoyed the exhibit however I felt it could have been larger. I wanted to learn more about the ancient Egyptians, their culture, society and their religious beliefs, rituals and ceremonies.

My favorite exhibit of all was the Mayan exhibit. The society of Maya includes art, astronomy, mathematics and literature. I was fascinated by these people hearing about them in class. It was very intriguing to be able to visualize these people. I learned a lot about Mayan architecture and was amazed by the giant Stella’s with Mayan hieroglyphics. I can say that the Mayan architecture if of a unique beauty. The walls are made of mud or stone covered wood poles that hold together the two sided hay roof. Outside of their internal economic attention, architecture consumed their time and energy so much.

I gained more insight into their culture and learned that they had their own form of dance. They had very decorated dress and weapons with feathers and beads. I read and learned that they had what is called `Xibalba` or `the ball game`. It is said that this ball game is a confrontation between good and evil. This ball game has played an important role in the Mayan’s culture and sometimes takes the form of sacrifice rituals and sometimes a game of chance. In whatever form, it always symbolizes the timeless struggle between good and evil in which the outcome is governed by supernatural powers, something beyond human skill and capability. This ball game is a vital part of the Mayan creation story and a fable of light defeating darkness and life prevailing over death.

I have lived in San Diego for a long time and this was my first trip to the museum. I think the museum did live up to it`s mission statement. It does contain discoveries and artifacts about anthropology that sure is important and really interesting. Visiting the San Diego Museum of Man is really worth the time and effort and the new knowledge is really worth storing in the mind of every visitor. In addition, it does not only provide knowledge and information but enjoyment as well. You will surely be fascinated with all of the exhibits in the San Diego Museum of Man. I would definitely recommend it to others and I plan on going back again in the future. It is one spot that San Diego should be proud of.

Works Cited:

San Diego Museum of Man. 2006 Retrieved August 8, 2007 from

<http://www.museumofman.org/html/about.html >

Anthropology . 200). Retrieved August 8, 2007 from

<http://www.cyberpursuits.com/anthro/>

Sheldon, J.  2000. Explore Ancient Egypt. Retrieved August 8, 2007 from

http://www.mfa.org/egypt/explore%5Fancient%5Fegypt/

 

 

 

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