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Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures

Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul,  in the touring hall of Melbourne Museum, was hosted in conjunction with National Geographic.

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DesignOffice worked with the Museum to conceive an experiential narrative that conveys the story of the discovery of the 230 exhibits.

For years these artefacts were thought lost or destroyed as a result of war and instability in the region. However, in 2003, they were uncovered from vaults in the central bank of the presidential palace, where they had been placed in secrecy by a few courageous staff from the National Museum of Kabul.

The exhibition tells the story of the long and extraordinarily rich historical culture of Afghanistan, and the influences which affected the country due to its position at the centre of the Silk Road.

The design of the exhibition creates non-lineal paths for visitors to explore, establishing four individual nodes, one for each of the archaeological sites where the artefacts were originally discovered. These sites are individually entered from a central circular gateway. Framing this central gateway are large scale illuminated images of Afghanistan, providing a wider context for the country and its rich history.

Light-weight fabrics, walls, suspended elements and chromatic lighting design are used to create four different environments, each with an abstract reference to the historical context of the archaeological site. These include Begram, a two-room merchant’s store, and Tillya Tepe, a collection of tombs where the famed Bactrian Hoard was discovered.

Location Melbourne
Client Melbourne Museum
Collaboration Graphic Design / Streamer
Photographer Dianna Snape
Completion Date 2013