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In 1988 while Afghanistan was in the grips of a civil war, government and National Museum officials were concerned that the historical artifacts and works of art in the Kabul museum might be damaged or looted. In order to protect these treasures they were hidden in the Central Bank treasury vault at the presidential palace. In 2003, during a period of relative stability after the U.S. military campaign overthrew the Taliban, the presence of the treasures was revealed, and an international effort was begun to put them on exhibition. In the U.S., the show is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, but if you can't make it to the in situ exhibit this website from the National Geographic Society is a great virtual substitute. The site presents the full story of the exhibition and a wealth of additional information. Visitors will find videos and audio slide shows of sites in Afghanistan where the artifacts originated, images of modern Afghanistan, and recorded Afghan music. There is also a link to the Metropolitan Museum's website to see a selection of artifacts in the exhibition, such as gold and turquoise shoe buckles from the 1st century A.D., and a folding crown, an example of nomadic design.
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