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Tour 'Indiana Jones' treasure trove (pictures)

Walk in the footsteps of fictional archaeologist Indiana Jones. Check out a sneak peek at the interactive tour set to open in Santa Ana, Calif., this month.

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Christopher MacManus

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1 of 9 National Geographic, Lucasfilm, X3 Productions, and jfbriere.com

Calm before the storm

When the Indiana Jones franchise debuted with "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in 1981, the resulting iconic movie series starring a charming Harrison Ford sparked wide public interest in archaeology and exploration.

More than 30 years later, National Geographic and Lucasfilm have teamed with X3 Productions on the Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology exhibition, which opens in the U.S. on October 12 (and runs through April 21, 2013) at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, Calif. The touring exhibit previously stopped in Montreal and Valencia, Spain.

Throughout the tour, visitors can bask in the glow of an extensive collection of authentic "Indiana Jones" film props, set designs, and concept art. Additionally, the experience shows off a wealth of content related to locations in the movies and explores the myths surrounding the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail. A full assortment of real historical artifacts on loan from the Penn Museum and the National Geographic Society archives -- many of which date back thousands of years -- also await onlookers.

The tour features several large murals from memorable moments in the movies, such as this sunset scene with silhouettes of Harrison Ford and others toiling tirelessly in a desert scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

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Raiders of the Lost Ark

This section of the exhibit mostly relates to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and includes several concept art pieces and authentic props. In the glass case to the left, check out authentic "Raiders" clothing worn by Marion Ravenwood, who was played by Karen Allen (read CNET editor David Carnoy's recent interview with the actress).

The Headpiece of the Staff of Ra, a pivotal prop featured in the movie, sits nearby.

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3 of 9 National Geographic, Lucasfilm, X3 Productions, and jfbriere.com

Idol and urn

The Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology museum tour features a wide array of authentic props from the various films.

One truly memorable moment in the Indiana Jones saga occurs during the opening scenes of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," where we find the daring adventurer trying to steal the gold Chachapoyal Fertility Idol above out of a booby-trapped Peruvian temple. Artist Norman Reynolds created the painted plastic prop.

Indiana Jones traded the funerary urn at the bottom to a crime lord for an epic diamond in "Temple of Doom." In the movie, the urn supposedly contains the ashes of Nurhachi, the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty.

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Temple of Doom

The "Temple of Doom" segment of the Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology tour features authentic concept art and props from the movie. On the left, we see Willie Scott's (played by Kate Capshaw) authentic bride-like white dress from the film, while Mola Ram's skull headdress sits nearby.
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Skull and stone

Top: Artist Stan Winston created the skull featured in "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" out of real crystal. Indiana Jones spends the majority of the movie trying to obtain it while fighting off a group of deadly Russians.

Bottom: During "Temple of Doom," Indiana Jones tries to recover a Sankara Stone stolen by Mola Ram.

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Last Crusade

This area of the Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology tour highlights moments from the "Last Crusade." The Holy Grail prop used in the film sits near other mock cups that Indiana Jones had to choose from in the movie to save his dying father (played by Sean Connery).
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Ark and cup

Top: Throughout "Raiders of the Lost Ark," Indiana Jones relentlessly seeks the Ark of the Covenant, the supposed device that carried the tablets containing the Ten Commandments.

Bottom: One of the most nail-biting scenes in the "Last Crusade" occurs when Indiana Jones has to choose the correct Holy Grail out of dozens of available cups.

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Catacomb concept

Artist Elliot Scott created this concept painting of the burial chamber seen in "Last Crusade" with watercolor and gouache. Indiana Jones figures out the location of the catacombs below the library in Venice after solving a peculiar riddle. The Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology museum tour features many pieces of original concept art that helped define the look of the movies.
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9 of 9 National Geographic, Lucasfilm, X3 Productions, and jfbriere.com

Virtual reality

Each visitor to the Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology museum tour gets a personal video companion designed for the exhibit. The touch-screen device features an hour of video and 45 minutes of additional audio narration to enhance the experience. Visitors can also use the digital companion to participate in an interactive treasure hunt complete with puzzles and hidden digital items.

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