Chilean Foreign Minister in US for Mine Rescue Exhibit

Posted August 3rd, 2011 at 8:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Chilean Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno is in Washington for the opening of a new museum exhibit telling the story of 33 Chilean miners who survived being trapped underground for more than two months.

The foreign minister met Wednesday with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department, where both expressed excitement about the display at the Smithsonian Institution.

After the meeting, Moreno told reporters the exhibit, which opens Friday, exactly one year after the miners became trapped, would be a “fantastic opportunity” to remember what happened.

The Smithsonian says the presentation – at its National Museum of Natural History – will include one of the rescue capsules that brought the miners back to the surface, as well as personal mementos and stories from the miners.

Museum director Christian Samper said in a statement Wednesday the exhibit will also give visitors a glimpse into the “harsh” world of geology beneath the Earth's surface.

The miners were trapped more than a half-kilometer underground after a tunnel collapsed on August 5. They were not discovered alive until more than two weeks later. The 69 days they survived underground is longer than anyone on record.

Hundreds of millions of people around the world watched as rescuers pulled the miners to safety one by one. Chilean President Sebastian Pinera greeted each man as he emerged, and led a spirited and emotional singing of the national anthem when the last miner arrived safely on the surface.