Lucy at the Discovery Times Square Exposition in New York

Lucy's fossils made a stop in New York today as part of its six-year tour of the United States. (Photo: Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New York (Tadias) – In continuation of the six-year tour of the United States, Lucy’s Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia opened today at the Discovery Times Square Exposition in New York.

Organizers held a press preview in mid-town Manhattan this morning and unveiled a multi-media exhibition of Lucy’s fossils – one of the earliest human ancestors discovered in Ethiopia. Additional items including ancient Ethiopian Orthodox bibles, biblical manuscripts, copies of the Holy Koran from the Harar region, and other historical materials conveying Ethiopia’s ancient Abrahamic heritage and diverse cultures were shown.

A replica of the Axum obelisk and the Lalibela church, designed by American artists for the exhibition, were also on display.

Donald Johanson, who made the landmark discovery of Lucy in 1974, told Tadias Magazine that the famous bones are a very important reminder of our origins in Ethiopia. “She reminds us that all of us began in Africa,” the Arizona State University Professor said during an interview at the museum. “Ethiopians should be very proud of that fact, that our ancient ancestor has been found in Ethiopia, and it is a rare opportunity for the country to share these antiquities with the rest of the world.”

Donald Johanson, the man who discovered Lucy, at the Discovery Times Square
Exposition in New York ———— –(Photo by Tadias Magazine – June 24, 2009)

There have been many versions of how Lucy got her name. Johanson shared its origins with us. “I was there with my girlfriend Pamela, and the Beatles song ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’ was playing on a small radio…that’s how she was named.” According to Johanson, an official at the Ministry of Culture, Bekele Negussie, gave Lucy her Ethiopian name Dinkenesh, which in amharic means ‘you are wonderful.’

“I hope this exhibition will encourage people to travel to Ethiopia and experience this great nation,” Johanson said.

However, several scientists have shared their concern and disapproval of the exhibition citing that Lucy’s remains are too fragile for touring and travel. The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. has refused to display Lucy amidst such concerns.

Mamitu Yilma, Manger of the National Museum of Ethiopia, who attended the NYC opening, says she understands the controversy. “Although the concerns are legitimate, we have done a lot of work and professional due diligence before Lucy was allowed to leave Ethiopia,” she says. ” At the end, it is about sharing Ethiopia’s rich history, diverse culture, and our tremendous contribution to world civilization.” And “What better place to do it than in New York City, the capital of multiculturalism.”

Dirk Van Tuerenhout, Curator of the show, hopes that the exhibition will serve as an ‘Ethiopia 101′ course for the American public. “My greatest joy is when people say: “Wow, I had no idea that the Queen of Sheba was Ethiopian or that Rastafarianism is related to the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. I hope the show inspires young children to become anthropologists or archaeologists or researchers”.

The show will remain open in New York until October 24th, 2009

Here are more photos:

NYT Photographer Chester Higgins, Jr. and Mamitu Yilma, Manger of the National
Museum of Ethiopia. — — — — — (Photo by Tadias Magazine – June 24, 2009)

A video exibtion of the life and times of Emperor Haile Selassie is also on display.

Outside the Discovery Times Square Exposition (Photo by Tadias Magazine)

A large poster detailing the relationship between Rastafarianism and Ethiopia.

The show will remain open in New York until October 24th, 2009.

12 Responses to “Lucy at the Discovery Times Square Exposition in New York”

  1. 1 Pam Jun 24th, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Thanks. This sounds interesting and educational. Is this a guided tour? I was thinking of bringing my students.

  2. 2 I_KNOW Jun 25th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Pam, you can call the exhibition space directly and ask for special accommodations for kids and guided tours, etc. website: The space is marvelous, located in the former New York Times Building on 44th Street between 7th & 8th Avenues, directly across from Shubert Alley. New York Times had a great piece when they opened: In Times Square, a Place for Grand Exhibitions (

    Open 7 days a week
    10am – 10pm

    A, C, or E train to 42nd Street
    1, 2, 3, 7, 9, N, R, S or W train to Times Square
    B, D, V, or F train to 42nd Street-Bryant Park
    N or R to 49th Street
    By Bus:

    M42 or M50 cross-town to 7th Avenue
    M11 or M16 to 42nd Street

    When you purchase tickets, they are stamped with a specific entry time.
    If you miss your slot, we will make every effort to accommodate you at the next available.
    entry time

    The last time of admission is one hour before closing.

  3. 3 true Jun 25th, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    This tour and museum really should be announced well for Ethiopians and others! For instance it should be published on major newspapers of each States, is it on Ny Times? If not post ads everywhere. Obviously there has not been much publicity because I don’t see it on Yahoo, CNN, etc.

  4. 4 Guest Jun 25th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    The new york times just published a story on the show: Exhibition Review – “Relics From the Deep and the Dawn of Man (The New York Times). The story is about two shows Titanic and Lucy. So you have to read further down the story about lucy.

    Quoting NYT
    “The other show, “Lucy’s Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia,” is meant to lead up to the 1974 discovery of the fragments of a 3.18-million-year-old skeleton that filled a blank in the evolution of homo sapiens; this small-brained species, now known as Australopithecus afarensis, shows that the ability to walk upright preceded the development of intelligence. The paleontologist Donald C. Johanson found the female hominid he dubbed Lucy almost by accident, seeing a distinctive elbow bone protruding from sandstone as he glanced behind him in a maze of ravines near Hadar in Ethiopia…”. Here is link:

    This is a well-publicized exhibit and has already toured various states. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see the show.

  5. 5 Yonas Jun 26th, 2009 at 12:20 am

    This is a stunning show and once a lifetime experience. I flew to Houston from California just to see Dinkenesh. I will never forget standing next to the three and half million old skeleton that seem to want to come to life. The rest of the presentations were just great. Thank you Ethiopia for sharing Lucy to the with the rest of the world.

  6. 6 Meti Jun 28th, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I agree that there is a great deal of media interest and publicity surrounding Lucy’s show. Just in Google news alone under Ethiopia, there are articles listed by The New York Times, Tadias Magazine and The Associated Press regarding the New York show. Plus, the past shows and particularly in Huston and Seattle have received a lot of publicity.

    From Google News for Today under Ethiopia
    1. “Ethiopia’s Priceless Treasures on Display in New York
    Tadias Magazine – Liben Eabisa – ‎Jun 24, 2009‎
    New York (Tadias) – In continuation of the six-year tour of the United States, Lucy’s Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia opened today …
    2. New Times Square art exhibition space opens The Associated Press
    3. Relics From the Deep and the Dawn of Man New York Times
    4. See Lucy in New York City! About – News & Issues”

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