Museum of the Rockies Features Fascinating show: “Lamps of Atlantis”

It’s the weekend and you find yourself with nothing to do. Friends are busy or gone, you need a break from Netflix because you just had a major Supernatural binge-watch until 3:00 a.m. It’s a sunny day out because the weather in Montana is rebelling against the seasons. What to do? Well, since it’s only a ten minute walk away, you decide to check out this Museum of the Rockies that Bozeman is so proud of. You lazily get dressed, put your shades on because today is not a day for human eye contact, and you walk down the street with Pink Floyd or whatever you’re into blaring in your earbuds.

You see the tell-tale dinosaur bones of an impressive T-Rex and find yourself walking into the building. Once you show your student ID, pay the $10 and slap your dino admission sticker somewhere on your clothes, you look around for whatever catches your eye. Now, it’s about 12:50 p.m., so you have a few options. You can check out the Age of Nero exhibit if ancient Greek/Roman history appeals to you. Maybe you’re interested in the wild west and history of Montana. You could also be a “Jurassic Park” fan (because it’s amazing) and want to check out the endless paleontology exhibits.

But, before you do any of that, what you really is head over to small astronomy section, just right of the check-in desk, and make your way into the planetarium where, everyday at 1:00 p.m., they play Lamps of Atlantis.

Lamps of Atlantis is a half hour show displayed on an impressive “state-of-the-art projection system”. Narrated by character actor Terry O’Quinn, learn about the history of the stars and how the tales of a lost civilization started.

When you walk in, you’ll find yourself in a circular room with your pick of seats. The seats, you find, are leaned back, intended to give you a decent view of the ceiling. The ceiling at first is a brightly lit blue dome with the image of the inside of a spacecraft. While awaiting, you’ll have to assail your ears to violin covers of modern pop music (though it’s better than playing the originals). Then at 1:00 p.m. precisely, the show begins.

At first, the show is a bit confusing. You’re expecting this whole spiel on how the lost civilization of Atlantis exists and you’re skeptical depending what you believe about it. Instead, the show begins with the history of constellations.

Just about everyone knows what a Zodiac is, but many don’t know the history of Zodiacs. Thousands of years ago, the Ancient Greeks assigned names and meaning to the constellations, but they weren’t the only ones. Through animated examples, the video shows how several other civilizations such as the Egyptians, Chinese, Mayans, etc. interpreted the same stars.

As it turns out, Egyptians with their art and stars influenced and were influenced by the Minoans. The Minoans were an ancient civilization based in Crete on the island known today as Santorini. Despite being ancient, the Minoans were once of the most advanced societies of their time and known well for their sea travels and trading. However, in spite of their power, it all came to an end with one of the largest volcanic eruptions in world history.

Bigger than that of Vesuvius and St. Helen, the eruption obliterated the island and caused massive earthquakes, which in turn caused massive tsunamis to crash on neighboring regions.

Most historians to this day believe that the Minoan civilization is where the stories of Atlantis sprung from, making the tales at least partially true in that a powerful civilization once existed and was destroyed in the blink of an eye.

If astronomy, archaeology, and so on interest you in any way, this is the show to watch. Regardless if you’re not an astronomy or history buff I highly recommend it. Lamps of Atlantis is a fascinating historical tale with understandable dialogue and cool projection that won’t disappoint. If you’re interested, the show plays daily at 1:00 p.m. in the Taylor Planetarium.