Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures

from the National Museum, Kabul

Past Event: 22 March 2013 to 28 July 2013

A collapsible nomadic crown (Tillya Tepe), 100 BC - 100 AD
A collapsible nomadic crown (Tillya Tepe), 100 BC - 100 AD
Source: National Museum of Afghanistan
Photo © Thierry Ollivier / Musée Guimet

A remarkable exhibition of stunning artefacts revealing Afghanistan’s rich culture.

Afghanistan was at the heart of the Silk Road, the trading route travelled by Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Marco Polo, linking ancient Iran, Central Asia, India and China, and the more distant cultures of Greece and Rome.

Visiting Australia for the first time, this exhibition, with more than 230 priceless treasures, some thousands of years old, offers a rare opportunity to discover the surprising, untold story of the long and extraordinarily rich culture that is Afghanistan.

For years these artefacts were thought lost or destroyed as war and instability shook the country. In 2003, they were uncovered from vaults in the central bank of the presidential palace, where they had been placed in secrecy by a few courageous staff from the National Museum, Kabul.

Discover stories of bravery that protected these precious artefacts of gold, bronze and stone sculptures, ivories, painted glassware and other ancient works of art.


Event Type: Temporary Exhibition
Daily, 22 Mar - 28 Jul 2013
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Touring Hall

Adult $24, Concession $16, Child $14, MV Member Adult $14, MV Member Concession $12, MV Member Child $10

Tickets include entry to Melbourne Museum
Pre-purchase tickets online or by calling 13 11 02.
Online and phone bookings incur a $4.00 fee per transaction.

Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul exhibition is supported by the Australian Government International Exhibitions Insurance (AGIEI) Program. This program provides funding for the purchase of insurance for significant cultural exhibitions. Without AGIEI, the high cost of insuring significant cultural items would prohibit this major exhibition from touring to Australia.


Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures' sponsors' logos

Comments (41)

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Adrian Schonfelder 1 November, 2012 17:08
Looking forward to this wonderful exhibition!
Margaret Bramley 9 January, 2013 10:21
We will only be in Melbourne for 36 hours in March, and this exhibition has priority. Hope we can get tickets!!!!
Julie 24 January, 2013 16:12
Will there be any lectures associated with this exhibition? I managed to get to almost the entire mesopotamia lectures and they were brilliant
MV Customer Services 25 January, 2013 11:47

Hi Julie,

There will be lectures associated with the exhibition. Check back soon for details!

Adrienne Leith 25 January, 2013 16:45

Dear Julie,

Two series of lectures are being planned in association with the exhibition. One will focus on archaelogy and the social, historical and cultural aspects of Afghanistan and will be held on Thursday evenings at 6pm. The other program called In Conversation will be held on Saturday afternoons at 4pm and will highlight the relationship between Melbourne and Afghanistan through themes such as writing, travel, cooking and trade. All details of these programs will be finalised by mid-February and will appear on the website.

Barb Luebbers 25 January, 2013 09:47
I saw the museum's treasures in Kabul in the 1970s. Looking forward to revisiting the fabulous cultures of the region.
Berrie 25 January, 2013 14:32
The preview of these artifacts is wonderful - can't wait to see the exhibition!
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Zahra Haydar Big 2 February, 2013 13:03
Hi I am LOTE teacher of students From Afghanistan interested to attend the above event in March but as we have Saturday school so Can we attend the event on a Saturday between 22nd Mar till 28th July 2013. And is there any discount of tickets for my students. Please let me know. Thanks a lot
MVBookings 6 February, 2013 15:35

Hi Zhara,

We will be able to book your group in on a Saturday, to make a booking and discuss pricing, please call our education line on 03 8341 7767

christine devers 2 February, 2013 22:50
Looking forward to seeing the exhibition and the rest of the museum.
Pamela 7 February, 2013 16:28
The Melbourne Museum address details are not clear. Melb venue not listed with other states. it could be Confusing -National Museum Kabul/ Canberra. I know that it is on Melb Museum website but when you copy and paste to send on to others this detail is lost looking forward to it. thanks
Jane Doe 9 February, 2013 23:10
Hi, Just wondering whether there will be a preview night for members only, as with the previous exhibitions?
Discovery Centre 13 February, 2013 12:29

There is a members event planned for Saturday 23 March from 9am and will also include an introduction by Dr Fredrik Hiebert, archaeologist and curator of Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures exhibition; followed by exhibition entry.

The Membership department will soon be sending out a member e-newsletter to invite members to this upcoming event.  If not already, please make sure that you are signed up to receive our member newsletter.

Hassib 27 February, 2013 10:42
Looking forward to it.
Sharon Orrman-Rossiter 4 March, 2013 11:44
Dear Museum, Re the lectures planned for Thursday evenings at 6pm, & Saturday afternoons at 4pm, could you please provide a direct link to the place on the website for these? Thank you. I have been looking for details of these programs since mid-February as per your earlier post and can't seem to locate them. Also - what time does the lecture for members by Dr Fredrik Hiebert finish on 23 March & is the exhibition entry after this talk timed? Many thanks - really looking forward to the exhibition and the lectures.
MV Bookings 7 March, 2013 16:21

Hi Sharon,

Please see below a direct link to the Afghanistan page that has further links to the talks and lectures we will be holding in relation to the exhibition


James Victor 5 March, 2013 12:52
Looks good. I will have to go and see it. It would be great to have some treasures from Ancient Greece over in Melbourne too. You would have a captive audience and it aligns well with the Y7 Australian Curriculum.
Helen 5 March, 2013 18:04
Hi,what time frame do you suggest that we allow to view this exhibition? Eg will one hour suffice? Also, can tickets be purchased on the day from the museum? Thank you.
MVBookings 7 March, 2013 16:15
Hi Helen Usually an hour will suffice to see the exhibition, but if it takes you longer this is ok. Entry is times, and we don't allow re-entry, but once you have entered, you can move through at your own pace.
James 24 March, 2013 06:48
Cant wait to see it. I am really excited, thanks to Museum Victoria for organising this exhibition.
Andrea 24 March, 2013 11:36
I have just made a booking for your Afghan lecture on Tuesday night and I'm so looking forward to it. Your online booking system however is too cumbersome and not worthy of a great museum of an international city. Please fine tune it.
Jean Dillon 29 March, 2013 11:00
I went to the exhibition yesterday (28/03/13)and thought it was wonderful.I hope these treasures do not return to Afghanistan until it is really safe for them to go back or the Taliban will seize them all and they will all be lost both to the Afghanistan people and the world. I bought the book and a piece of jewellery.
Helen Waller 2 April, 2013 03:57
Regarding the Egyptian display recently. My partner and I were very, very disappointed regarding the way the paying public were shuffled through like mobs of sheep. It was very demeaning. You seem to be keeping to this practice and I, for one, will not be seeing any more special exhibitions if they too, are going to be shown this way. Alot of friends I've spoken to also feel the same. I realize it is about making money but by insulting people and their intelligence in this manner, the museum is unlikely to gain financially if people are continually dissatisfied. Please reconsider the way these exhibitions are run. The general public pays are fair amount of money to see these special exhibitions and we do not receive value for money at all. Please reconsider or the Museum will be the loser financially in the long run. I WOULD appreciate a response. Thanking you, Helen Waller
Discovery Centre 3 April, 2013 10:47

Thank you for this feedback Helen. We now organise our major exhibitions differently from Tutankhamun in 2011. For example, the 2012 exhibition The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia and the current exhibition Afghanistan Hidden Treasures are less crowded and the ticket prices are lower too. Please visit us and see if you like the changes.

Pat Pooley 4 April, 2013 23:06
Superb. I shall revisit before the exhibition closes. The lecture for the members special event was fabulous. Dr Fred Hiebert was so passionate about this wonderful event, how could we not be inspired also. Enormous thanks.
Kanishka Malikkhil 7 April, 2013 14:32
Very exciting to visit. Thanks to all organizers.
Lisa Sukkel 8 April, 2013 09:04
A wonderful insight into a fascinating part of the world. A beautifully curated as well with helpful supporting information.
Berrie Cameron-Allen 8 April, 2013 15:05
A wonderful exhibition - I loved it! The audio-guide was very helpful and curation was excellent. I sensibly visited on the Thursday before Good Friday, and there were no crowds to contend with, which added tot he experience! Thank you!
Clea 12 May, 2013 12:50
I want to come to see the Afghanistan exhibition, but have a disability which prevents me from standing for too long, and use a walking stick. Is there priority entry for the likes of me and a carer?
MVBookings 14 May, 2013 11:34

Hi Clea

Thanks for your enquiry.  If there is a queue for the exhibition and you require priority entry, please speak to a customer service officer on the day and they will be able to assist you.  The museum also has a range of wheelchairs, which might suit your needs.  These are available for hire, for free, from the cloak room and can be arranged easily upon your arrival to the museum.

kazem 21 May, 2013 09:34
i visited the exhibition along with my colleuges and friends and it was really wonderful. despite i am from afghanistan and studied in the field of history, but most of this exhibition was new for me. tnx to Melbourne museum that organise this exhibition and i found the chance to see the hidden treasurs of my country in Australia.
Eve Flain 24 May, 2013 21:41
This exhibition is really good - go. Hire the audio guide and be prepared for more gold than Tutankhamun. I guarantee you will go home both reflective on the world we live in and impressed with the worlds that have passed - I'm going to have a go at carving my own sun dial out of a hebel block (the square one in the exhibition).Treat yourself and see this magnificent display of sheer beauty. This time of year there is the added bonus of fewer people as a result of a bearded French painter at the other end of town. Many thanks to the Museum for emailing a reminder to myself and previous visitors about the Afghanistan expo. It worked, I went and am so glad I did.
aaron 30 May, 2013 18:43
how much does it have to do with the silk road
Discovery Centre 5 June, 2013 10:40
Hi Aaron - the exhibition has a very strong theme relating to the Silk Road; you can read more on this topic on the web page for the exhibition here
Maryna 7 June, 2013 11:37
Going to visit this exhibition this Monday. Can you please advise if I can buy tickets at the entry or it is essential to prebook?
MV Bookings 17 June, 2013 10:45

Hi Maryna

You can prepurchase tickets if you would like to, but it's not neccessary as there are plenty of tickets available for sale upon arrival at the museum.

Ali Azimi 10 June, 2013 17:25
Looking forward to visit the gallery late this month! :)
Cindy 6 July, 2013 00:14
Do we have to pay for touring to see the temporary exhibition such as the Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures?
MVBookings 9 July, 2013 14:56


Hi Cindy

You do have to purchase tickets to view the temporary exhibitions, including the current exhibition, Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures.  The ticket prices for this exhibition are listed at the top of this page and are:  Adult $24, Concession $16, Child $14, MV Member Adult $14, MV Member Concession $12, MV Member Child $10.  You can pre-purchase tickets online or by calling 13 11 02.  You can also purchase tickets for the exhibition at the museum ticket counter upon arrival at the museum. 

paul 8 July, 2013 16:03
I saw the exhibition over the weekend and loved it. I would like to know the words to the quote concerning the stages of man from childhood through to old age and finally accepting death.
Discovery Centre 12 July, 2013 15:17

Hi Paul, the text reads...

As a child, learn good manners, As a young man, learn to control your passions, In middle age, be just, In old age, give good advice, Then die, without regret.

Exhibition Tour Dates

After Melbourne Museum, Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul will be touring to the following venues:

Queensland Museum
5 September 2013 to 27 January 2014
Art Gallery of New South Wales
6 March to 1 June 2014
Western Australian Museum
5 July to 16 November 2014