International Museum of Cultures BLOG

Anthropology Museum Providing Education on Indigenous International Cultures

Learn About the People of Mexico at the Museum or Through a Virtual Tour from Your Own School June 3, 2014

The International Museum of Cultures (IMC) explores the diversity of languages in Mexico.

The IMC has an exhibit that provides an overview of the richness and diversity of languages in Mexico. It highlights samples of the more than 150 native languages still spoken there. The exhibit additionally focuses on some social implications of this diversity of languages within the national life of Mexico.

Electronic Field Trip at the International Museum of Cultures

If you have students that are interested but not able to visit the museum in person, there is another alternative. The IMC also provides insight into Mexico in its Electronic Field Trip. In the IMC Electronic Field Trip, a Museum Docent of Mexican heritage explains to  students that are touring the museum the tonal importance of these languages. Below is a sample of the dialogue in the Museum’s Virtual Tour:

DOCENT: “You can see that most of the non-Spanish speakers live in the southern part of Mexico. Some of the languages are tonal which means that the only difference between “I’m going, and I’m not going” may be the tone of your voice. Likewise, some are also nasal, and you must say a vowel through your nose. If you don’t, you might say “chili pepper”, like I did when you really wanted to say “horse’s tail”!”
STUDENT: “That could be a problem if you were trying to make chili and put a horse’s tail in the pot.”
DOCENT: “You’re right. Languages, to some extent, are partially a result of need. Mixtec dialects can have as many as 20 different words for corn, like the Eskimos have many words for snow: soft snow, slushy snow, icy snow, etc. The Tzeltales in the state of Chiapas have 25 verbs for “carry”, depending on HOW you are going to carry something: on your back, over your shoulder, in a pocket, in your hand, etc. “

View the promotional video of the eField Trip that visits Mexico, South America, Africa, and Papua New Guinea. Learn more by visiting International Museum of Cultures or call us at (972) 572-0462.

 

Multi-Sensory learning at the Museum April 21, 2014

Learning through discovery is a powerful form of learning. Often times a question is answered that was not asked creating knowledge beyond the expected. In addition, the result is often more questions and the pursuit of further understanding. Museums offer this valuable form of learning, discovery.

Museums are recognizing that there is even more that they can do. They can lengthen the retention of the knowledge learned. Retention can be extended through the use of multi-sensory learning.

The rhetorical question is asked in Trendswatch 2014, “Remember when you looked at a painting, listened to music, tasted your food, smelled
perfume and touched a (real, physical) object?” The human senses encourage memory retention. The report goes on to say “The demand for multisensory experiences is accelerated by discoveries documenting the utility as well as the artistic challenge and the sheer fun of engaging all the senses.”

The International Museum of Cultures (IMC) recognized the advantage of a multi-sensory experience quite a long time ago. The IMC has touch screen videos in select exhibits where the visitor can interact directly and choose to experience what the indigenous people see and hear. An example would be listening to the sound of a “Talking Drum“. The IMC also provides “Discovery Boxes” where the visitor can handle artifacts while following instructions that increase the engagement of the visitor with the daily lives of people living in far-away lands.

Discovery Boxes and the Electronic Field Trip are available for educational institutions to use at their locations. Engage the senses to encourage discovery and the retention of the information learned. For more information contact the International Museum of Cultures at 972-572-0462.Cultural context education

 

 

The IMC Continues its Mission Through Programs Seminars and Exhibits March 31, 2014

The International Museum of Cultures (IMC) is “A Center for Global Awareness”

Building on the past and looking to the future, the Board of Trustees of the International Museum of Cultures adopted an updated mission statement.

Mission: The International Museum of Cultures provides a venue for opportunities to enhance the public’s understanding, involvement and appreciation of contemporary world cultures through programs, seminars and exhibits. International Museum of Cultures

Below are other important facts about the IMC:

Location: The International Museum of Cultures is located on the access road of Highway 67 in Duncanville, TX. Situated conveniently between all of Southwest Dallas’ major suburban cities and only minutes from downtown Dallas, the IMC is easily accessible to all.

Description: The International Museum of Cultures is the only contemporary cultural anthropology institution in the state of Texas to focus on indigenous peoples and to understand the challenges of existing communities in remote locations of the world. Through exhibits, educational programs, and public events, the IMC celebrates people of diverse cultures in an effort to embrace and promote understanding of cultural differences found both in isolated areas of the world and in our own community. Our focus on living peoples rather than on those of the past provides a rich platform from which to address questions of ethnic and cultural diversity – the Museum’s central interest.

History: The IMC was developed by linguists and anthropologists associated with SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics) and chartered in 1979 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization under the supervision of Dr. William Merrifield. The Museum exhibits are taken directly from the experiences of field linguists. They are rich in the detail and understanding that can only come from first hand knowledge of living in these remote communities and in sharing and appreciating their cultures and friendships. Facility: The Museum occupies its own 20,000 sq. ft. building on highway 67 in Southwest Dallas County. We have a community room that seats 50-75 and conference room available for rental. Our upstairs’ facility is in the process of being developed as a children’s lab. Along with all the usual IMC events, we have the space for meetings, parties, performances, and lectures.

Exhibits: Exhibits include several African cultures including West Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo; South America; eleven countries of Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea, China, Mexico, Central America, and Native American as well as an extensive display of weapons and drums from around the world. Short-term exhibits are regularly displayed in the reception area. Traveling exhibits are in place at neighboring libraries and government buildings.

Come visit us at 411 US 67 Frontage Road Duncanville, TX 75137.

If you are an Educator, contact us about our Electronic Field Trip and Discovery Boxes. They come with complete curricula covering TEKS for K-12 science, social studies, English language arts, fine arts, and math. For more information, call us at (972) 572-0462

 

The Roles of Museums and Anthropology November 15, 2013

The International Museum of Cultures (IMC) is an anthropology museum. This puts the IMC at the center of two role advancements, one that is occurring in the museum industry and the other that is affecting anthropological study.

Cultural context educationWithin the industry of museums, there is a tide change from the traditional passive contemplation role that was very popular through the majority of the last century and the modern role of the museum to be an active participant in community and education. In Anthropology, there is an increased emphasis to apply the findings discovered in the field to the present culture and economic environment of the observer.

Museum 2.0

Regarding the advancing role of the museum in society, Nina Simon posted Participation, Contemplation, and the Complexity of “and” in Museum 2.0 “To me, the backlash against participatory and community-centered experiences is not surprising. I’ve always understood that participatory experiences are not for everyone. I’ve always known that some people feel that social work means mission creep for museums. What surprises me is the argument that participatory and community-centered initiatives, offered alongside many other interpretative strategies, program types, and projects, can erode the value of an institution and the experiences it provides.”

Museums are continuing to increase their role in communities and education by expanding beyond their brick and mortar. Museums are bringing their experiential abilities to the attendee rather than having the attendee physically enter the museum.

Anthropology Advancing

The traditional methods of anthropological study have been to visit far away cultures, report on them and then return to report on the findings. Many of us laymen have fond memories of watching documentaries depicting people living, in our context, within strange and exotic cultures. Anthropology is advancing its role in applying the findings to our contemporary world and our local cultural and economic environment.

The challenge is the acceptance of the fact that all of our perspectives are filtered through our respective traditions and culture. The advanced Anthropological studies understand the human condition of the observer and properly shares the observations in the proper context.

In a post call A Major Value of the Anthropological Project (as I see it), agamwell writes “Sharing our stories with others too, can be helpful, as long as we are able to also understand views as partial, as one among many, and as long as we allow the space for multiple stories, even if contradictory, to exist at the same time. While each of us might not be able to change the world, we can at least change ourselves.”

So museums and Anthropology are moving to expand their roles and, consequently, expand our understanding of the world. The International Museum of Cultures is moving along in step by being a true partner in education. The IMC ships genuine artifacts to educational organizations with related curricular and also offers an electronic field trip delivered to any Web enabled device, also accompanied with related curricular. The purpose is to bring the cultures of the world to our students, in the context of and to improve the student’s world.

 

The Value Cultural Anthropology Brings to Our Educational System August 21, 2013

Ngbaka People educatingWhat is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the study of humankind. Anthropologists can be found in a number of settings, such as hospitals, schools, national parks, and even studying our oceans.

The International Museum of Cultures is a cultural anthropology museum. We focus on the ways in which people live around the world. Culture involves the beliefs , attitudes, knowledge and social structure of a group of people. The study of culture can include food, clothing, language, celebrations, education, and religion.

Due to the rapid globalization and imperialism, many people whose ancestors have lived in a location for thousands of years have historically been oppressed. However, indigenous groups hold rich histories and traditions that are very interesting and diverse. Our museum’s goal is to shed light onto the many different ways that indigenous people live around the world in and effort to learn from them and positively represent them.

As our world becomes more unified Globally, it is imperative that we understand various worldviews rather than forcing our worldviews on others. Because of this global context, our goal as a museum is to foster cross-cultural interest, openness and appreciation of cultural diversity.

Understanding and appreciating indigenous cultures from around the world allow us to better appreciate the diversity within our own country, State, and community. This is exceptionally important for young people developing their world views on their way to adulthood.

What are the Benefits of Cultural Anthropology to our Educational System?

The International Museum of Cultures wants to open the mind of the student to other ways of living; to other cultures. Although the museum highlights people that live outside the United States, the diversity of the world is parallel to the diversity we see within our own country and communities. Our museum aims to teach children and adults alike that no way of living is any better than another. We want to foster an appreciation of the diversity of the world.International Museum of Cultures Music Discovery Box

Discovery Boxes

We provide educational tools, such as PBL Discovery Boxes that allow students to experience cultures around the world in a unique and interactive way. Discovery boxes come in 12 different themes and include a variety of genuine artifacts from the museum’s collection. Students are able to touch and examine the artifacts while completing activities and worksheets that encourage them to think critically about the world around them using Project Based Learning (PBL) methods.

Electronic Field Trip

The Electronic Field Trip is entirely online and is designed as an interactive learning tool. The eField Trip is a series of videos delivered over the Web that provide an entertaining tour of different sections of the museum. The tour focuses on the Peoples of Africa, South America, Papua New Guinea, Asia, and Mexico.

Understanding diverse cultures from around the world help us all to better understand our own community. Cultural Anthropology can provide the way to that understanding.

For more information on the educational tools from the International Museum of Cultures, call (972) 572-0462.

 

Why is Learning Through a Museum So Effective May 30, 2013

We are reminded in the blog post called Memory and Storytelling, of an Indian proverb from a “stories-told” book, The Right Words at the RightTime by Marlo Thomas and Friends

“TELL ME A FACT: I’LL LEARN.
TELL ME A TRUTH: I’LL BELIEVE.
BUT TELL ME A STORY: IT WILL LIVE IN MY HEART–FOREVER.”

The artifacts in a museum all hold stories. And those stories are waiting to be released in a thunder within the minds of children that observe and, when possible, touch the artifact. This experiential effect stimulates further creative thinking leading to more questions and more answers.

A great example of an artifact that tells a story is the Talking Drum. The Talking Drum, called a nkul, is a wooden slit drum that reverberates at dawn around and through the trees and houses of the Ewondo people of Mekomba, Cameroon. When we think of drums being used to communicate, we often think of the drum as a musical instrument. Many cultures throughout history also used them to convey a signal. However, some native civilizations use drums as a speech surrogate. A Speech Surrogate replicates the tone and rhythm of oral speech, taking the ability of a drum to communicate to an entirely new level. Its these types of artifacts that take children to places they never imagined. (Refer to our previous post on Talking Drums where we highlight the book, the “People of the Drum of God – Come”.)

The Museum of International Cultures can bring this experiential learning to the classroom. The Student does not even need to travel to the museum. Some examples of the ways the Museum collaborates with educators are:

Discovery Boxes

Discovery Boxes allow students to experience cultures around the world in a unique and interactive way. Discovery boxes come in 12 different themes and include a variety of genuine artifacts from the museum’s collection. Students are be able to touch and examine the artifacts while completing activities and worksheets that encourage them to think critically about the world around them using Project Based Learning (PBL) methods.

Boxes include:

  • a teacher’s guide with detailed object descriptions
  • curricula covering TEKS for K-12 science, social studies, English language arts, fine arts, and math
  • eye-opening activities that guide your students through understanding the objects

Electronic Field Trip

The Electronic Field Trip is entirely online and is designed as an interactive learning tool.

  • A series of videos delivered over the Web that provide an entertaining tour of different sections of the museum. The tour focuses on the Peoples of Africa, South America, Papua New Guinea, Asia, and Mexico
  • Curricula covering TEKS for K-12 science, social studies, English language arts, and math.

For more information on the educational tools from the International Museum of Cultures, call (972) 572-0462.

 

Entering a New Era in Education December 19, 2012

Entering a new year, we reflect on the changes that we have seen in the past to predict the future that is before us. There is one primary purpose for this activity. That is to prepare ourselves to be the most effective in an ever evolving world.

Museum of International Cultures, Dallas, Texas

Museum of International Cultures, Dallas, Texas

As a museum with a mission of educating others on diverse cultures, we understand how quickly social and cultural changes can occur. An example is the change occurring in our educational system in the United States. We are entering a new era in education.

This new era is spurring conversation and, consequently, partnerships. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills professes that the key for success in the United States educational system is to fuse the traditional 3Rs with the 4Cs.

  1. Critical thinking and problem solving,
  2. Communication,
  3. Collaboration, and
  4. Creativity and innovation.

As the Center for the Future of Museums in their blog states: “…museums are pre-adapted to be major players in the next era of education.” The Center depict the new era of education to be:

  • Lifelong Learning
  • Beyond institutions
  • Software-mediated
  • Teacher as facilitator

Museums provide a means to personally interact with the subject to be learned. This experiential effect can stimulate further creative thinking leading to more questions and more answers. When learning in a museum setting, discovery can also create a desire to share the experience generating further collaboration and communication.

The International Museum of Cultures offers the following Educational Tools for this new era of education. These tools are specifically designed to address the new means of learning while also assisted the smaller school budgets of the new year.

Electronic Field Trip

The Electronic Field Trip is entirely online and is designed as an interactive learning tool.

  • A series of videos delivered over the Web that provide an entertaining tour of different sections of the museum. The tour focuses on the Peoples of Africa, South America, Papua New Guinea, Asia, and Mexico
  • Curricula covering TEKS for K-12 science, social studies, English language arts, and math.

Discovery Boxes

Discovery Boxes allow students to experience cultures around the world in a unique and interactive way. Discovery boxes come in 12 different themes and include a variety of genuine artifacts from our museum’s collection. Students will be able to touch and examine the artifacts while completing activities and worksheets that encourage them to think critically about the world around them using Project Based Learning (PBL) methods.

Boxes include:

  • a teacher’s guide with detailed object descriptions
  • curricula covering TEKS for K-12 science, social studies, English language arts, fine arts, and math
  • eye-opening activities that guide your students through understanding the objects

For more information on the educational tools from the International Museum of Cultures, call 972-708-7406.

 

 
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