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Union Station’s new ‘Stonehenge’ show includes artifacts that have never left Europe

People gather at Stonehenge for winter solstice

Hundreds of people gathered at Stonehenge on Tuesday, December 22, to mark the winter solstice. The cloudy weather didn’t stop people from gathering around the archaeological site and singing during the traditional celebration.
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Hundreds of people gathered at Stonehenge on Tuesday, December 22, to mark the winter solstice. The cloudy weather didn’t stop people from gathering around the archaeological site and singing during the traditional celebration.

If visiting Stonehenge is on your bucket list but you can’t swing a trip to southern England, your next-best option might be to take a drive to Union Station this summer.

Union Station announced Tuesday that it has been chosen as the Americas’ premiere host of “Stonehenge: Ancient Mysteries and Modern Discoveries.” The 15,000-square-foot exhibition will open May 25 in the Bank of America Gallery and will run through Sept. 29.

Designated a World Heritage Site in 1986, Stonehenge attracts more than 1.5 million visitors annually to the remote site southwest of London. Archaeologists believe it was constructed about 5,000 years ago, and scholars have been puzzled for centuries by the huge stones.

“Stonehenge: Ancient Mysteries and Modern Discoveries” will present more than 300 artifacts, 150 of which have never traveled outside of Europe, as well as the latest scientific research to answer questions about the mysterious monument.

“Union Station — once again — has been awarded the prestigious premiere venue for this international tour, never before seen in North or South America,” Union Station president and CEO George Guastello said. “What a huge win for all of Kansas City and the region.”

Union Station’s recent exhibitions have included “Dinosaurs Revealed: Journey Across America,” “Pompeii: The Exhibition” and “The Discovery of King Tut.”

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Stonehenge attracts more than 1.5 million visitors annually to the remote site southwest of London. Union Station



Stonehenge consists of several rings of standing stones, the largest of which are 30 feet tall and weigh 25 tons. It is widely believed they were somehow transported from Marlborough Downs, 20 miles to the north. Scientific analysis has revealed that smaller stones weighing up to four tons were brought from the Preseli Mountains in Wales, more 150 miles away.

“Stonehenge is one of the world’s most storied and mysterious monuments,” Guastello said. “Who built it? How did they build it? When? And why? Some consider it a place of mysterious Earth energies and other mystical forces. Others regard it solely as an impressive testament to the skills of a long-ago civilization. Still, others want to attribute it to ancient aliens.”

“Stonehenge: Ancient Mysteries and Modern Discoveries,” currently on display at the Gallo Roman Museum in Tongeren, Belgium, features six inner exhibit halls. It includes not only priceless artifacts, but also 23 videos and multiple interactive features. Guests will be able to explore the ancient landscape, how the people before and during Stonehenge lived, constructed and used the monument, and how modern science continues to refine their story.

Mike Parker Pearson, professor of British Later Prehistory at the Institute of Archaeology at University College London, curated the exhibition. He has been directing research on Stonehenge since 2003. Pearson will be at Union Station for the opening of the exhibition.

Tickets are on sale at unionstation.org/stonehenge. Family four packs are available for $55 and two tickets for $30 through May 17. Regular pricing will be $17.95 for adults, $14.95 for children and $12.95 for Union Station members.

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