WTF Fun Fact 13427 – Museum’s Real Replica Sword

Chicago’s Field Museum’s real replica sword made quite a splash earlier this year.

In January, the museum revealed that a seemingly ordinary artifact was far more significant than initially believed.

A museum discovers their replica sword is real

The sword, previously considered a modern replica, was revealed as an authentic weapon dating back to the Bronze Age by Dr. James Phillips, an archaeologist at the museum. He first identified the potential misclassification.

As a sword enthusiast, Phillips found himself intrigued by the detailed craftsmanship and specific features of the piece, which hinted at its potential authenticity.

The sword’s journey began with an acquisition by an art dealer in Iran. It eventually found its way into the hands of Mr. William Nelson Pelouze. His wife subsequently donated the sword to the Field Museum in 1947. For years, the museum had labeled the sword (and treated it) as a replica. It’s true historical value remained unknown to its keepers and the numerous visitors that came to see it.

A treasure in plain sight

This situation changed when Neal Spencer, from the British Museum, conducted a comprehensive X-ray fluorescence test. This test, which accurately dates and analyzes the composition of artifacts, determined that the sword was crafted between 1200 and 800 BC. That places it squarely in the Late Bronze Age.

The sword’s construction also offers a fascinating glimpse into the past. The way the blade and hilt are held together by rivets reflects ancient weapon-making techniques, providing an invaluable insight into the skills and methods employed by the metallurgists of that era. This expertise adds another layer of intrigue and importance to the artifact.

Now acknowledged as a true historical artifact, the sword fills a gap in the Field Museum’s extensive Luristan Bronze collection, which comprises a wide range of Bronze Age relics, including weapons, horse fittings, and jewelry, typically unearthed in western Iran.

A replica turned real reveals new insights

This discovery serves as a testament to the continuous evolution and revelation in historical study and museum practices. It underscores the necessity for constant re-evaluation of museum collections, breathing fresh life into the ever-evolving narrative of human history.

Moreover, it brings attention to the importance of museums as keepers of knowledge, mystery, and discovery. They are institutions that connect the present with the past, creating an ongoing dialogue between the then and now. The tale of the Bronze Age sword at the Field Museum is just one of many, reminding us that there is always more to learn, discover, and explore.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Authentic 3,000-Year-Old Bronze Age sword put on display at Field Museum” — Chicago Field Museum

WTF Fun Fact 13087 – The WLCoWSVoWLT

The WLCoWSVoWLT stands for the World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things. It was created by a woman named Erika Nelson who travels the country looking for roadside marvels that have set a record for “world’s largest.” Then she photographs them and builds her own miniature version.

The marvels of the WLCoWSVoWLT

It’s unclear if creating the world’s smallest version of any world’s largest thing is a full-time job, but her collection has become a museum that she runs. You can visit it in Lucas, Kansas. What you’ll find on the walls are photos of Nelson’s replicas next to their giant inspirations. Often, she’ll have the miniatures displayed as well.

According to Atlas Obscura, “Nelson is an artist, educator, and one of America’s foremost experts and speakers on the World’s Largest Things. In addition to visiting communities with her own unique traveling museum, which acquired a permanent base in 2017, Nelson is a consultant to cities seeking to create their own ‘World’s Largest Thing’ or roadside attraction to increase tourism, marketing, and economic development for their community.”

This is just another testament to how incomplete Career Day at school really is. Just think of the jobs people create for themselves that no one ever dreamed of!

Making the world’s smallest versions of the largest things

Nelson makes the World’s Smallest Versions of The World’s Largest Things from a medley of materials. For example, when replicating the world’s largest ball of rubber bands, she used the miniature rubber bands you’d find at an orthodontist’s office.

Nelson spends most of her time on the road. The museum itself is stationary since it’s found a new building in Lucas, Kansas. It used to be housed in a van.  WTF fun facts

Source: “World’s Largest Collection of Smallest Versions of Largest Things” — Atlas Obscura

WTF Fun Fact 13076 – Heilan Horse Culture Museum

The Heilan Horse Culture Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to living horses. It’s also part palace for some of the world’s most beautiful horses from around the world.

What is the Heilan Horse Culture Museum?

Located in Jiangyin City, China, outside of Shanghai, the museum shows off 43 breeds of horses from 30 different countries. Horses come from China, Germany, Turkmenistan, and Spain, for example. The roughly 300 horses live in glamorous marble stables – and are even a few zebras on site.

According to Atlas Obscura (cited below): “The horses on display are “dressed” for the occasion. Some of their manes are braided, or styled in ripples or waves. The horses live in proper stables, but are displayed in luxurious marble pens to greet visitors. The palatial museum is decorated with chandeliers, carpeted grand staircases, amazing statues, gold ceilings, and a shopping mall.”

Visiting the horse museum

The museum is located half an hour north of Shanghai as part of an effort by Chinese menswear company Heilan Group to build a “Luxury Town” for tourists.

In 2015, the museum’s Heilan Equestrian Club broke the Guinness World Record for the largest horse dressage, which included “30 black horses, 30 white horses, and a riding team of all women.”

The museum was built in 2009 and offers not only performances and competitions by training. Iin fact, it was the first comprehensive training facility in China, according to Atlas Obscura.

The museum didn’t open to the public until 2016. It also includes many caretakers for the horses, including on-site veterinarians. Visitors can not only see the well cared for horses, but learn about the development of the species and how horses have played a role in human civilization.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Heilan Horse Culture Museum” — Atlas Obscura