Fact or Fiction: Exploring The World’s Most Popular Mythical Creatures

Kasandra Parker

For years, The Witte Museum has hosted some of the most fascinating and educational exhibits San Antonio has ever seen. Their recent exhibit, “Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids,” strays away from reality and steps into the world of fables and tales. The exhibit displays an array of creatures such as the Eastern and Western imaginations of majestic dragons, the mermaid and its origins and creatures like the beautiful unicorn, whose magical horn in Greek mythology is said to purify and heal. The exhibit explores fantasy, mythology and religion. The Witte then mixes mythology with reality, displaying bones from ancient dinosaurs, apes and giant squids, providing potential evidence for these mythical creatures.

These mythical creatures’ cultures and regions vary. The origins of the Ojibwa Lake Monster, Mishepishu, the Asian Phoenix and the Sedna from Inuit mythology are all on display. B.T. Barnum’s famous faux mermaid is even on display, revealing how willing people are to believe mysterious creatures exist, despite being debunked.

The exhibit also offers interactive displays and touch screens where museumgoers can create their own virtual dragon. Eastern and Western versions dragons can be created, and the Witte provides a small blurb of historical information with each body part. The coolest thing about The Witte’s exhibit is that it shows the varying origins of mythical creatures, challenging legends with real-world explanations and allowing people to draw connections across cultures. This exhibit reveals how similar human beings are in their need to make sense of the world and all of the creatures that exist within it.

The “Mythic Creatures” exhibit will continue through Jan. 12, 2020.