Mandela: The Official Exhibition Opening October 9 at OMSI

Journey Through the Life of the World’s Most Iconic Political Leader
09/10/2021

PORTLAND, Ore. (September 10, 2021) – Lawyer. Revolutionary. Political prisoner. World leader. Elder statesman. Human rights icon. Global advocate for change. Nelson Mandela has been all these things to people across the world. Now, a unique opportunity to learn more about this venerated statesman is provided in the west coast premiere of Mandela: The Official Exhibition, opening at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) on Saturday, October 9, 2021. 

Mandela: The Official Exhibition, produced by Round Room Live in partnership with The Royal House of Mandela (RHoM) and RHoM Investments, is the major new global exhibition that examines the legacy of the world’s most famous freedom fighter using personal belongings and objects never previously seen outside of South Africa. These artifacts combine with unique insights from family, friends, and others to reveal the deeper stories behind the headlines. 

“We are thrilled to bring Mandela: The Official Exhibition to our community, as his life story is one we can all be inspired by. He spoke eloquently about equity and the importance of education, and how they could be used to change the world,” said Erin Graham, OMSI President and CEO. “This exhibit aligns well with OMSI’s mission of creating spaces for people of all ages and backgrounds to exchange ideas and gain access to equitable learning opportunities.” 

“Boeing Portland is honored to be the presenting sponsor of the new Mandela: The Official Exhibition at OMSI,” said Troy Yates, the site’s Manufacturing director and executive sponsor for the Boeing Portland Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Council. “We are inspired by Mandela’s vision and his life, and we realize the immense value of diversity at our company and in the community. Engaging people from all backgrounds not only makes Boeing a better place to work, but also makes the Pacific Northwest a better place to live.”

A remarkable life

Visitors to the exhibition will learn about the people and places that shaped Nelson Mandela, and the role they played in defining his personality, philosophy, and leadership style. Through a series of immersive zones, guests gain an understanding of Mandela’s rural beginnings and witness his transformation from a lawyer to a rising activist star in the African National Congress. 

As Mandela became a thorn in the side of the nationalist government, guests will experience the fight against apartheid and Mandela’s decades of imprisionment—and ultimately his liberation and election as South Africa’s first black president. 

The journey through the life of this globally beloved leader concludes with a reflection on his values, lifetime of service, and the inspiring legacy he left behind.

Unparalleled authenticity

Mandela’s story has been told before, not least of all by the man himself in his own words. But what makes Mandela: The Official Exhibition unique is that it takes guests through a life story illustrated by previously unseen film, photos, and more than 150 historical artifacts and personal effects on loan from the Mandela family, museums, and archives worldwide. These items, on loan from the Royal House of Mandela and Global Heritage Partners, combine with immersive media presentations and scenic re-creations to enable visitors to actively engage with and experience key moments in Nelson Mandela’s life. 

“The Royal House of Mandela is delighted to endorse this exhibition honoring the life and legacy of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, as it truly captures the spirit of our global icon whose name has become synonymous with international solidarity, justice, and peace,” says Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, of the exhibition. “It succeeds in quintessentially depicting the man and the legend whose struggle and sacrifice has captivated the hearts and minds of millions around the world. This exhibition is truly an inspiration and an inspired effort—I believe that everyone who sees it will agree that the legacy lives on and that the dream will never die.” 

The exhibition appreciates the support and involvement of several South African Heritage Partners, including institutions and individuals who are contributing to the exhibition content. These Heritage Partners are The Robben Island Museum, The Liliesleaf Heritage Site, Mqhekezweni: The Great Place, Christo Brand, and Zelda la Grange.

Tickets & Pricing
Member Price: Free for OMSI Members
General Admission, including access to Mandela: The Official Exhibition: Adult $15, Youth (ages 3-13) $10.50, Senior (age 63+) $12

Museum Hours of Operation
Tuesday–Sunday: 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Monday: Closed, with the exception of Portland Public School holidays

About OMSI
Founded in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation’s leading science museums and an award-winning educational resource for the kid in each of us. As a private, non-profit organization, OMSI does not receive any government funding, but relies on earned and contributed revenue for its operating expenses. OMSI operates the largest museum-based outdoor science education program in the country and provides traveling and community outreach programs that bring science learning opportunities to schools and community organizations throughout Oregon and the region. OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland, OR 97214. For general information, call 503.797.4000 or visit omsi.edu. Connect with the museum on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, Co-Executive Producer 
Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela is the traditional leader of Mvezo and the grandson of former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. In 2007, when the Chieftancy and family title was restored, Nkosi Zwelivelile was installed as Chief of Mvezo and head of the Mandela clan under the direction of his grandfather Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Since then, Nkosi Zwelivelile has fulfilled several primary roles including: establishing and invigorating a community development arm, The Mvezo Development Trust; building a primary school and initiating the Mandela School of Science and Technology with Siemens Corp.; developing the Mvezo Komkhulu Museum and the future home of this exhibition; launching annual cultural, political and sports related programs and activities in the Eastern Cape; and, providing community and spiritual leadership as defined by centuries of culture and tradition. Nkosi Zwelivelile was appointed as a Member of Parliament by the African National Congress following elections in 2009 and again in 2014. He has served on the Public Works and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Portfolio Committees. During the fifth parliament, he served as the ANC Whip in the Minerals and Energy Portfolio Committee. Now serving his third term in parliament, he is deployed as the Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. He is also the owner and chair of MK Freight Systems. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a postgraduate degree in political science from Rhodes University.

About Round Room Live, An Entertainment One Company
Round Room Live is a producer and promoter of live entertainment that specializes in transforming both new and iconic intellectual property into engaging and thrilling live events. Round Room creates unique live experiences tailored to the distinct character of each property and produces the highest quality productions for audiences around the world.Their current roster of touring theatrical shows includes: Baby Shark Live!, Blippi The Musical, Peppa Pig Live, and PJ Masks Live! Save the Day. Round Room’s Immersive and Entertainment Experiences division is currently touring: Jurassic World: The Exhibition, Mandela: The Official Exhibition and The Infinite: Living Among the Stars.