Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 21st, 2007
Mythic Creatures opens at The American Museum of Natural History on Saturday, May 26, 2007.
I have been invited to deliver a presentation, “Introduction to Cryptozoology,” in conjunction with this exhibition, late next fall at the AMNH.
Fun for the whole family, the new exhibition Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids explores the anthropological origins and cultural significance of some of the world’s most enchanting mythological characters, such as dragons, griffins, mermaids, sea serpents, and unicorns. The exhibition features art and cultural objects, fossils, and eye-popping models from a 17-foot-long dragon to the legendary sea monster, the kraken, with massive two-foot diameter tentacles surfacing all through the hall.
May 26, 2007–January 6, 2008
TRACK THE ORIGINS OF LEGENDARY CREATURES INCLUDING DRAGONS, UNICORNS, MERMAIDS, AND SEA SERPENTS
Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids, an enchanting exhibition that traces the cultural and natural history roots of some of the world’s most enduring mythological creatures for the first time, is scheduled to open on May 26, 2007. Legendary beasts of land, sea, and air such as dragons, griffins, mermaids, sea serpents, and unicorns are highlighted in this major exhibition scheduled to remain on view through January 6, 2008, after which it will travel to other venues.
For thousands of years, fantastical creatures have been a part of human experience through legends and fables, ancient and contemporary art, performance, and even in the accounts of early naturalists. Mythic Creatures will include spectacular sculptures, paintings, and textiles, along with a number of cultural objects from around the world ranging from shadow puppets to ceremonial masks and helmets that will bring to light surprising similarities-and differences-in the ways peoples around the world have envisioned and depicted these strange and wonderful creatures.
Mythic Creatures will also feature preserved specimens from the Museum’s collections, and fossils of prehistoric animals to investigate how they could have, through misidentification, speculation, and imagination, inspired the development of these legendary beasts. For example, visitors will discover how narwhal tusks introduced by northern European traders lent credence to the centuries-old belief in the unicorn (a beast that was probably originally a misunderstanding of a rhinoceros), and how dinosaur fossils uncovered by Scythian nomads may have been mistaken as the remains of living, breathing griffins. And persistent tales of undersea monsters may simply have been sightings of real creatures that are just as fantastic as any imaginary beast, including the oarfish, great white shark, and giant squid.
Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York, in collaboration with The Field Museum, Chicago; Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau; Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney; and Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta.
Mythic Creatures is proudly supported by MetLife Foundation.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.