Heritage Personal Museum - 3rd Edition *Temporarily Back-Ordered*
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Pallasite Space Crystals (4,500,000,000 years old)
Pallasite meteorites are characterized by olivine crystals embedded within their structure, surrounded by a nickel-iron alloy matrix. This unique structure makes these meteorites perhaps the most beautiful and mysterious of all meteorites. Not only are these meteorites rare, but these crystals from space are also incredibly intriguing. Science author O. Richard Norton explained, “Pallasites can be thought of as an immiscible emulsion, like oil and water. During differentiation, fractional crystallization should separate the two major minerals. Olivine is an ultramafic mineral that forms and accumulates deep within an asteroid's body. We can imagine it gathering as a cumulated layer at the core/mantle boundary.”
Campo del Cielo Iron Meteorite
Campo del Cielo translates to “Field of Heaven''. This is the name given to a group of iron meteorites that were strewn over a large area (~55 km2) in northern Argentina around 4,200 to 4,700 years ago. The iron meteorite fragments originated in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The age of the fragments is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old. There are at least 26 craters within the strewn field and at least 100 metric tons of meteorite material have been found.
Petroleum quartz (also known as Golden Enhydros) contains fluorescent petroleum oil embedded within its structure. Although quartz is extremely common in the earth’s crust, the captured petroleum within these crystals makes them exceptionally rare. These spectacular quartz crystals are only found in specific locations in the world, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and New Mexico. When exposed to UV light, the petroleum fluoresces a brilliant blue color.
Sahara Desert Fossilized Coral
50 to 100 million years ago, a narrow sea bisected West Africa across what is now the Sahara desert. This ancient ocean is known as the Trans-Saharan Seaway of Africa and it formed as the Tethys Sea closed up. This ocean was 50 meters in-depth and covered about 3,000 square kilometers of what is now the world’s largest sand desert. New research suggests that this ocean was home to the largest sea snakes and catfish that ever lived. It is thought that the climate and geography of the area slowly changed as a result of the slight axial tilt changes of the earth. The area remained humid and green until approximately 6,000 years ago. The final transition from humid to dry was dramatic and happened within a perplexingly short period. This sample of fossilized coral was collected from the Sahara Desert and is evidence of this ancient ocean that was once teeming with life.
Early Petrified Wood (Callixylon, c. 385,000,000 years old)
This specimen of petrified wood, known as Callixylon or Archaeopteris, is one of the oldest known trees to have existed. This particular section came from the Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma and dates back to approximately 385 million years ago. These trees grew to heights of 18-27 meters and are thought to be the first true trees to have formed Earth’s first forests.
Sauropod Vertebrae Fossil
Sauropods, one of the most recognizable groups of dinosaurs, included such species as Brontosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus, and Dreadnoughtus. Sauropods were massive and the group includes the largest terrestrial animals to ever walk the earth. Most evidence suggests that certain species of these creatures could reach 80+ tons in weight. Sauropod fossils are found all over the world (except Antarctica). This group of dinosaurs existed for approximately 100 million years before becoming extinct, significantly longer than many other groups of dinosaurs.
Stegosaurus Fossil Bone
Stegosaurus was a heavily armored herbivorous dinosaur that had four large spikes on its tail and two rows of plates along its back. These plate bones were not directly attached to the creature’s skeleton. Rather, the plates were embedded in the skin. While the exact function of the characteristic plates is still debated, the tail spikes are thought to have provided substantial defense against predators.
Hadrosaur Fossil Bone
The hadrosaur dinosaur had a duck-bill-like bone structure and resided primarily in Asia and North America. These dinosaurs were herbivores who are estimated to consume plants lower to the ground rather than taller vegetation such as tree leaves. They had thousands of small teeth in the back of their mouths for efficient grinding of plants. Based on scale impressions it has been determined that Hadrosaurs were scaled rather than feathered like their related species.
Fossil Star Sand Taketomi, Japan
This “star sand” is composed of the exoskeletons of foraminifera - single-cell organisms which build shells made of calcite. These shells are washed up on the beaches of the islands of Okinawa, Japan. The remains of Foraminifera are found in the fossil record as early as 550 million years ago, making them some of the oldest known fossils. Incredibly, these creatures are still alive and present today, with an estimated 4,000 species living in the oceans.
K-Pg Boundary Extinction Event
Earth has experienced several extinction events since life began eons ago. The Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event (K-Pg) occurred 66 million years ago and involved the mass extinction of approximately 75% of all plant and animal species. This was the extinction event that killed all non-avian dinosaurs. Although once hotly contested, thanks to the work of Luis Alvarez, it is now understood that this particular mass extinction was the result of a colossal asteroid colliding with the Earth. Alvarez and his team discovered that within sedimentary layers found on several continents, there was an abnormally high level of iridium - an element more common in asteroids than in Earth’s crust. This, along with the sudden and simultaneous disappearance of species within the fossil record 66 million years ago began to provide strong evidence in support of an asteroid impact.
Woolly Rhino Horn (c. 50,000 years old)
“Modern rhinos can’t sweat and they become lethargic in the heat, so perhaps their hairy ancestors couldn’t survive the warming period, ushering in their extinction as the glaciers melted.” - Ricki Lewis, PhD
Like the woolly mammoth and many other megafaunas of the Pleistocene epoch, the woolly rhinoceros became extinct near the end of the most recent ice age. These massive animals were adapted for cold climates. Long, coarse hair allowed the woolly rhino to survive extremely cold and harsh environments. Carcasses of these majestic animals are found today in permafrost across Siberia and Eurasia. Although human hunting is often cited as the cause of their extinction, recent studies are showing the possibility of climate change as the culprit for the demise of the woolly rhinoceros.
Woolly Mammoth Tusk (c. 22,000 years old)
The woolly mammoth is perhaps the most iconic Ice Age mammal. They grew to roughly the same size as modern African elephants - between 2.7 and 3.4 meters tall as adults. Like modern elephants, mammoths used their tusks for fighting, moving objects, and foraging. Interestingly, scientists can determine the age of a woolly mammoth specimen from the rings of its tusks. Mammoths spent much of their time foraging for food and would eat 180-200 kilograms of grasses and plants every day. Most woolly mammoths died out at the end of the last ice age (about 10,500 years ago). However, due to rapid warming and rising sea levels during that time, a population of 500-1000 woolly mammoths became isolated on Wrangel Island (Arctic Ocean, Russia). These mammoths were the last surviving members of their species and survived until around 4,000 years ago.
Indus Valley Terracotta (Cradle of Civilization)
The Indus Valley Civilization, which existed from 3300 BC to 1300 BC, is considered a “cradle of civilization” - an area where civilization independently emerged. Located in modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, this civilization flourished along the Indus River and was contemporary with many other ancient civilizations including Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China. The ancient sites of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa show evidence of sophisticated city planning, plumbing, and engineering. The Indus civilization also excelled in bronze castings, stone statues, terracotta, and pottery. At its peak, the Indus Valley Civilization accounted for 10% of the world’s population, making it more populous than ancient Egypt.
Egyptian Mummy Beads (c. 2000-150 B.C.)
In ancient Egypt, beads were worn by both the living and the dead. Beads were perhaps the most ubiquitous fashion item in ancient Egypt. They also adorned many mummies. These mummy beads were made approximately 2,000 years ago. Egyptian “faience” was a ceramic material made from common ingredients such as quartz (silicon dioxide), calcium oxide/hydroxide (lime), and mineral pigments. To create beads, the faience paste was pressed and rolled around a string, then sliced into small discs. The paste was then fired in furnaces reaching 870+°C. Firing the faience paste in a furnace transformed it into hardened ceramic. The beads in the museum display came from the Simonian family collection (acquired in Switzerland, 1960s).
The Maya civilization existed from roughly 1800 B.C. to around 900 A.D. in what is now modern-day Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. The Mayans were astonishingly advanced in several fields and sciences including astronomy, architecture, math, and agriculture. They were also among the first people to record history in books. In fact, current estimates suggest that the Mayans authored around 10,000 books, virtually all of which were destroyed by the Spanish Conquistadors.
Viking Iron Axe Head
The term Viking is a name given to seafaring people primarily from Scandinavia who raided, pirated, traded, and settled in parts of Europe. In some nearby countries, the time that Vikings traveled is referred to as the Viking Age. During the Viking age (years 793-1066) they followed the Norse religion and expanded throughout Europe and to the northern regions of Africa. Vikings also became the first Europeans to reach North America. Unlike other cultures, the Vikings were relatively unusual for their use of axes as their main melee weapon. The elite guard of kings was armed with double-sided axes and could split shields or metal helmets with ease.
Easter Island Stone Rapa Nui Mo’ai Stone
Easter Island is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic places in the world, largely owing to the massive stone heads - Moai, or Mo’ai - which dot the coastline of the island. There are a total of 887 statues on the island in various stages of completion. The average statue is 4 meters tall and weighs 12,700 kg. The largest Moai weighs 82,000 kg with a height of 9.89 meters.
Although this particular artifact is not “original” per se, it was made by a native of Easter Island using the same igneous rock the original statues were made from, which is as close as it gets for this particular artifact.
The Incan Empire, which thrived from 1438 A.D. to 1533 A.D., was the largest in pre-Columbian America, with an estimated population of ten million people. Despite not having a written language or currency system, the Incas made many major achievements. These achievements included their system of roads and bridges, aqueducts, terraced agriculture, a centralized economy, medicine, stone structures, and textiles. The finely-woven textiles created by the Incans were intricate, to say the least. The designs and patterns of their textiles were often very colorful, with the quality of the clothing being dictated by social class. Clothing, along with other necessities, was supplied by the government in exchange for labor.
Château d'If Prison Stone
The Château d'If was originally constructed as a defense fortress with construction beginning in 1524 A.D. The fortress was never used in combat and by the 1800s, the fortress was being used as a prison for political and religious detainees. The prison island became internationally famous with the publication of The Count of Monte Cristo, authored by Alexandre Dumas. Today, Château d'If is regarded as one of the most famous prisons in the world.
HMS Victory Oak (Battle of Trafalgar)
As part of Napoleon Bonaparte's plot to invade England, the French and Spanish navies combined to take control of the English Channel. However, before this plan could be enacted, the British fleet, commanded by Lord Nelson, met the Franco-Spanish fleet off the coast of Spain. The battle that ensued has become known as the Battle of Trafalgar and it was one of the most important and decisive battles in history. HMS Victory was Nelson's flagship in the battle and much of the heaviest fighting took place around that ship. It only took a few hours for the British to ravage the Franco-Spanish fleet, but Nelson himself was killed in the battle. The victory at Trafalgar ensured England’s safety from a French invasion and made Lord Nelson a national hero.
French Revolution Money (Assignat)
The French Revolution was one of the most important events in European history. The revolution, which lasted from 1789 to 1799, was characterized by major social and political upheavals and the establishment of the principles of equality and freedom. The American Revolution undoubtedly had a major impact on the people of France. The people of France listened intently for any news from the American war and names like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson became household names among the French. The success of the American Revolution inspired revolutionaries in France. The reforms and liberties obtained came at great cost, both in human life and monetarily. In 1789, the National Assembly began printing paper money, known as “assignats”, to avoid imminent bankruptcy. These assignats were backed by church lands that had been nationalized. However, a general distrust of paper currency and the ever-present fear that the revolutionary regime would fail eventually led to the demise of the assigned currency.
East India Company Copper (Largest Company)
The East India Company, established in 1600 by a charter from Queen Elizabeth I, became one of the largest political and economic entities of all time. “At its peak, the English East India Company was by far the largest corporation of its kind. It was also larger than several nations. It was essentially the de facto emperor of large portions of India, which was one of the most productive economies in the world at that point.” - Emily Erikson, Professor at Yale University.
Battle of Waterloo Musket Ball Lead (Napoleonic War)
The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of significant battles fought by the French Empire and its allies against varying European powers. The French Empire was led by Napoleon Bonaparte and the wars resulted in a period of French domination over most of continental Europe. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes of the French Revolution and Napoleon’s rise to power. France was intermittently at war with Britain during this time. Significant, decisive battles were fought both at sea and on land, including the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle of Waterloo where Napoleon was finally defeated. Today, the Battle of Waterloo is seen as one of the most decisive battles that shaped the future of Europe. Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo helped usher in the “Concert of Europe”, a period of relative peace, prosperity, and technological advancement.
Krakatoa Lava (Anak Krakatoa)
One of the most famous volcanic eruptions occurred in 1883 when the volcano known as Krakatoa erupted, destroying over 70% of the volcanic island and causing one of the loudest noises on the planet. The sound from the eruption was reportedly heard in 50 different locations around the world and the sound wave is estimated to have traversed the globe seven times over. The eruption and resulting tsunamis resulted in the death of approximately 36,400 people. The volcanic activity of the island continues to this day and the island today is called Anak Krakatoa, meaning “Child of Krakatoa”.
De Havilland D.H. 4 Fabric (WW1 Plane)
The D.H. 4 was a fast and light British two-seat biplane bomber used for combat in World War I. It was designed by Geoffrey de Havilland (hence "DH") and was the first British two-seat light day-bomber capable of defending itself. When America entered WWI, the aviation section of the US Signal Corp was unprepared and unequipped. On 27 July 1917, a single DH.4 was sent to the United States as a pattern aircraft. It was not until 1918 that the first American-built DH.4s came off the production line. Several different manufacturers, including the Boeing Airplane Corporation, Dayton-Wright Airplane Company, the Fisher Body Corporation, and the Standard Aircraft Corporation produced the Americanized variant of the DH.4, featuring over 1,000 modifications from the original British design, to equip the American air services.
Ammonite Fossil (c. 66-409,000,000 years old)
Ammonites are a group of extinct marine creatures related to modern-day squids and cuttlefish. These shelled creatures lived alongside dinosaurs and can be found in rock layers abundantly in various shapes and sizes. Because of their abundance, they are often used as index fossils to determine the specific date associated with layers of rock. These helical shells can be found in various colors, lusters, and patterns with the largest found fossil being 137 cm in diameter.
Great Depression Shovel (Works Progress Administration)
“An entire nation, it seemed, was standing in one long breadline, desperate for even the barest essentials. It was a crisis of monumental proportions. It was known as the Great Depression.” - Kathi Appelt
The great depression was a worldwide economic crisis that took place around the 1930s. During this period many individuals were left unemployed, hungry, and hopeless. During the great depression, the Works Progress Administration was set up by Franklin D. Roosevelt which provided jobs for Americans doing public projects. The shovel used in this model is from that administration. It could have been used to build roads or buildings as well as help a father feed his family.
V-2 Rocket Shrapnel
The V-2 rocket was a German weapon whose name translates to “vengeance weapon”. It was created and used during World War II as retaliation for bombings of German cities. It was the world's first long-range guided ballistic missile. It traveled at supersonic speeds and was the first artificial object to travel into space. The rockets would hit the ground with such speed that there wasn't any audible warning before impact. A total of 3,172 rockets were fired over a few months during 1944 with Belgium receiving the most attacks. Each rocket explosion created a crater about 20 meters wide and 8 meters deep. After WWII a V-2 rocket was used to capture the world's first photo of Earth from space.
Hiroshima Melted Roof Tile (c. 1945)
“‘The atom bomb killed victims three times,’ a college professor once said. Indeed, the nuclear blast has three components – heat, pressure wave, and radiation – and was unprecedented in its ability to kill en masse.” - Yoshiro Yamawaki
The atomic bombing of Hiroshima during the world war killed approximately 140,000 individuals in total. At the moment of detonation, a fireball was generated which reached temperatures of 4000ºc or 7232ºf. That is only 1500ºc less than the surface of the sun. American soldiers positioned at sea were instructed to cover their eyes during the blast. It was so bright that they reported seeing their bones through the hands that were covering their eyes. Up to 4000 meters from the detonation site melted roof tiles could be found scattering the ground and on buildings. These melted roof tiles are extremely scarce since closer buildings were destroyed completely.
Lockheed U-2 Spy Plane Metal
The Lockheed is an American reconnaissance aircraft used for high-altitude surveillance. It was produced during the cold war for non-stop surveillance of enemy territories. Since the cold war, U-2 planes have been used by the USA in Afghanistan and Iraq and are still in service today.
Vostok 1 Flown Metal (First Man in Space Yuri Gagarin)
“To be the first to enter the cosmos, to engage, single-handed, in an unprecedented duel with nature-could one dream of anything more?”- Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Gagarin was a Soviet pilot who became the first human to go to outer space during the space race. He flew on the Vostok 1 spacecraft in a single orbit around Earth. The entire trip took only 108 minutes with the spacecraft going 17,500mph most of the way. After re-orbit, Yuri ejected from the craft, parachuted to the ground, then walked to find a telephone to tell the soviet union his location.
Chernobyl Medic Box Metal
The Chernobyl disaster was the most severe unintentional release of radioactivity into the environment. The disaster occurred during a test of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant near Pripyat, Ukraine. After the test, an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction ensued releasing enormous amounts of energy and radiation. Due to extremely high amounts of radiation being released, nearby towns were abandoned. The closest town of Pripyat is still vacant to this day due to radiation in the area with homes, businesses, and amusement parks becoming overgrown with vegetation. After the disaster, many downwind farm animals were born with deformities caused by high levels of radiation exposure. The Medic box featured in this museum was recovered from the power plant site after the disaster.
Neolithic Arrowhead (c. 10,000-3,000 B.C. Sahara Region)
The Neolithic period is the final deviation of the stone age, which preceded the Copper and bronze ages. This period is marked by the first developments in farming and domesticating farm animals. Because of these technological advancements, it was finally possible for many human cultures to move from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one of agriculture and settlement. This allowed increasingly large populations to become possible. Other developments during the Neolithic period include pottery, rectangular houses, and polished stone tools.