SANTA ANA — It belongs in a museum!
That's what Indiana Jones said as he traversed the globe in search of elusive ancient artifacts that others wanted only for themselves.
Now, however, the tables have turned, and the greatest archaeologist who never was has stepped into a museumlike setting near you.
Through April 21, the Discovery Science Center will play host to the U.S. premiere of "Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology," an interactive exhibit spanning more than 10,000 square feet and featuring items from all four Indy films.
The exhibit also displays photos and videos from the National Geographic Society, and artifacts from the Penn Museum and Mission San Juan Capistrano.
George Lucas' Lucasfilm Ltd., which produced the film series, made the exhibit possible, as well as X3 Productions, a group of three Montréal-based creative companies.
The center, which recently concluded the "Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination" exhibit, already had a working relationship with Lucasfilm. Thus, displaying another exhibit from the company seemed natural, said Kyra Bowling, exhibits manager with Lucasfilm.
The Discovery Science Center has "a terrific team to work with," she said. "We've got a dream team. It just seemed like the right fit, the right timing. It was a perfect storm of it all coming together."
After its stop in Orange County, the exhibit — which is in conjunction with the "Indiana Jones" series' Blu-ray release — will be on tour for six years and go to 12 different cities around the world, she said.
Bowling's favorite aspect? The whole development process, such as working with the real-life artifacts and the make-believe Indy ones.
"It was like being a kid in the candy store," she said. "Being able to coincide that with real-world archaeology and teach that to kids, for me it was a dream job."
Once inside the "Adventure of Archaeology," visitors can use personal video devices to guide them through the "Indy Trail." There are various numbers throughout that users enter into their devices to see clips from the films and hear more information.
Among the movie props on display are the Ark of the Covenant, the Staff of Ra headpiece and Chachapoyan Fertility Idol (aka the Golden Idol) from "Raiders of the Lost Ark"; the Sankara Stones and Willie Scott's sacrificial outfit from the "Temple of Doom"; the "real" and fake Holy Grail from "The Last Crusade"; and a motorcycle and assembled 9-foot crystal skeleton from "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
As for real-life archaeology, the sections include items from Mission San Juan Capistrano, and information about the Nazca Lines, Hiram Bingham and his discovery of Machu Picchu. Those exhibits and others are divided into four zones, dubbed "The Quest," "The Discovery," "The Investigation" and "The Interpretation."
The center has also created a view exhibits of its own.
Based on the map room scene from "Raiders," children can learn about the science of light refraction and lasers. There will also be a hands-on exhibit with weight measuring, reminiscent of "Raiders'" opening sequence when Indy took the Golden Idol — but without the gigantic rolling ball to escape from.
Tickets to the exhibit are $10 in addition to admission to the Discovery Science Center, 2500 N. Main St., Santa Ana. For more information, visit http://www.discoverycube.org or http://www.indianajonestheexhibition.com.