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Exhibit unearths golden innovations from the so-called Dark Ages

The Next Idea

You've probably heard of One Thousand and One Nights. It's a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales in Arabic from what's known as an Islamic Golden Age collected over many centuries. 

The English-language version is The Arabian Nights.

Something else stemming from that bygone era is coming to the Michigan Science Center — an exhibition called 1001 Inventions: Untold Stories from a Golden Age of Innovation.

Ahmed Salim, co-founder and marketing director of 1001 Inventions, joined Stateside to talk about the exhibition.

While much of the Western world was going through what is commonly called the Dark Ages, the societies between Spain and China were in the midst of a period of science, technology, and knowledge.

“One of the most important things you find when you come through the exhibition experience is that there is a sense of exciting creative attitude toward learning, and being curious, and being in a state of wonderment about the world around us,” Salim said. “And that spirit of creativity is what really helped to fuel that Golden Age.”

Salim says the exhibit also showcases how the neighboring cultures of India, Persia, the Arabian Peninsula, and other countries in the region built on the progress of one another.

“What many people don’t realize,” Salim said, “is that when we talk about this civilization from Spain to China, it actually includes within it the role of Christian, Jewish, Theban, Hindu, Zoroastrian faiths because they were also contributing to that knowledge.”

The exhibition will continue to run through January 7, 2018, at the Michigan Science Center in Detroit. Click here to learn more about visiting.

The Next Idea is Michigan Radio’s project devoted to new innovations and ideas that will change our state.

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