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'Hidden Treasures' Closes in Houston, Heads to New York

The critically acclaimed exhibit "Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures of the National Museum, Kabul" recently ended a three-month run at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, where it attracted 317,000 visitors.

The exhibit's 228 artifacts document Afghanistan's rich cultural heritage, telling a story of a country that was once a crossroads of civilizations and a hub for continental trade and travel. Originally housed at the National Museum in Kabul, the artifacts were hidden away by regular Afghan citizens prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979. The artifacts and their whereabouts were only revealed in 2003, after the Taliban had been driven from Afghanistan.

With the help of the National Geographic Society the exhibit was brought to the U.S. in 2008, opening in May at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. before travelling to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Added to the large crowds that saw the exhibit in Houston, almost 650,000 people in the U.S. have viewed the artifacts and learned of Afghanistan's diverse and storied history.

The exhibit heads next to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York, where it will open on June 23 and remain until September 20.

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