The IMC was among the Sponsors of the SMU Living Village

The International Museum of Cultures (IMC) was among the sponsors of the SMU Living Village exhibit that opened in April. It was a walk through exhibit located on the Quad at Southern Methodist University.

IMC Outdoor Display at Southern Methodist University Living Village

IMC Outdoor Display at Southern Methodist University's Living Village

SMU used some of the museum’s items to create replicas of typical Bhutanese and Burundi refugee settlements.

As SMU’s The Daily Campus stated, the Living Village intends to showcase a variety of shelter technologies that displaced populations can utilize…

While primary needs like food, water and shelter are important, culture is often lost in refugee camps, which hurts the quality of life of refugees.

The SMU anthropology department, Lyle engineers, and members of the North Texas Burundi and Bhutan populations worked together to demonstrate how cultural sustainability could still be valued in economically strapped refugee camps.

Promotional Video of the Electronic Field Trip from the International Museum of Cultures

Electronic Field Trip of a Unique Anthropology Museum

Our new educational products are providing many opportunities for outreach.

The Electronic Field Trip, called IMC Rocks!, is our premier production, presenting a virtual tour accompanied with teacher’s guide and complete curriculum. The e-field trip is delivered over the Cloud from any Web-enabled device. The program meets or exceeds the TEKS in social studies, language arts, music and math. See our promotional video by clicking on the world below:

Electronic Field Trip video from the International Museum of Cultures

The International Discovery Boxes are also very popular. Check them out as well.

For more information Contact Us 

Talking Drums

When we think of drums being used to communicate, we often think of the drum as conveying a signal. Signal Drums have been used throughout history. However, drums have also been used as a speech surrogate. A Speech Surrogate replicates the tone and rhythm of oral speech. Drums that are used as Speech Surrogates are also referred to as “tallking Drums”.People of the Drum of God, Paul Neeley, author

Paul Neeley wrote the book, the “People of the Drum of God – Come”. Mr. Neeley carried out his studies in 1988, while working with SIL International in Cameroon. Mr. Neeley had relationships with many people in the community of Mekomba, particularly through the drummers, his teachers in Cameroon.

Mr. Neeley’s interest was sparked by the beat of an nkul, a wooden slit drum, that reverberates at dawn around and through the trees and houses of the Ewondo people of Mekomba, Cameroon.

Mr. Neeley recorded the audio versions of a drummed message. Though the general message was the same for each performance, the differences were strikingly noticeable. It was apparent that this was not a recital of a fixed piece. He wondered how many different ways a text could be drummed and still be understood, and how exact was the correlation between speech sounds and drum strokes.

By examining in detail the performance paradigm of Antoine Owono, a church leader who was involved in drumming for more than forty years, Paul Neeley presented a thorough analysis of this communication event in his book People of the Drum of God–Come!

The analysis ranges from phonology of drumstrokes, to the discourse level, to the level of community comprehension. This study draws from such diverse disciplines as sociolinguistics, anthropology, semiotics, cognition, aesthetics, and ethnomusicology to make an invaluable contribution to our understanding of African culture and communication.

SIL International and the International Museum of Cultures Publications in Ethnography(formerly International Museum of Cultures Series) is a series published jointly by SIL International and the International Museum of Cultures. The series focuses on cultural studies of minority peoples of various parts of the world. While most volumes are authored by members of SIL International who have done ethnologic research in a minority language, suitable works by others also occasionally form part of the series.

Click on the picture to hear an example of a Talking Drum

International Museum Day at the International Museum of Cultures in Dallas, Texas

International Museum of Cultures


International Museum Day

Saturday May 14, 2011

from 12 pm to 4 pm

Museum Entrance is free!

(for directions, click here)

Members of Dallas’ Indian, Laotian, and Korean communities will be performing songs and dances from their cultures hourly, beginning at 1 pm.

Museums have numerous objects that are basic to the memory of the communities we live in. These objects are the expression of our natural and cultural heritage. Many of them are fragile, some endangered, and they need special care and conservation. International Museum Day 2011 is an opportunity to discover and rediscover our individual and collective memory.

Every year since 1977 International Museum Day is organized worldwide by the International Council of Museums. This day is an occasion to recognize the importance of museums in the development of society. Join us on May 14th at the International Museum of Cultures. Download the International Museum Day 2011 Flyer.

International Museum of Cultures present International Museum Day

Chronicle of a hunter-gatherer community in transition: Agta Demographic Database

Numerous scholars have asked about the raw data on which Thomas and Janet Headland based their study on the Agta, a hunter-gatherer population in the Philippines.
Now, those data are published with the full permission of the Agta people. View Agta Demographic Database: chronicle of a hunter-gatherer community in transition 23 pages

The study being referenced is the 1998 publication of Population Dynamics of a Philippine Rain Forest People.
Computer scientist Ray Uehara has worked with the Headlands to compile this database. This database consists of the records of 4,300 Agta individuals, 600 of whom are alive today. Of these, 284 are members of the San Ildefonso Agta, a subpopulation living on a peninsula separate from the larger Casiguran Agta Population on the mainland. Included in these records are the names, facial photographs, family histories, genealogies, and ancestors (dating back to the late nineteenth century) of today’s Agta. The data are complete with every birth, marriage, divorce, death, and in- and out-migration since 1950 to January 2010, for the 284-member San Ildefonso Agta subpopulation.

The International Museum of Cultures maintains a Philippine Agta exhibit. Please come visit us and learn more about the rich heritage of these people.

Read the SIL Language and Culture Documentation and Description 2 for more information about the authors of the reports referenced above.

Indigenous Cultures Institute in Texas

The Chair of the Indigenous Cultures Institute, Dr Mario Garza, recently issued a letter announcing their new online journal, Nakum. Dr. Garza says “We started this journal not only to promote our mission, but to offer a public forum through which our people can speak with their own voice, from their own perspectives.”

The Indigenous Cultures Institute was founded by members of the Meakan/Garzas Band, one of the over two-hundred bands that resided in Texas and northeastern Mexico when the Spaniards first arrived.

The Institute organized the local Native community to provide education and information about Native Americans, particularly from this area, southern Texas, and northern Mexico. More than 200 Native American groups were populating what is now central and southern Texas and northeastern Mexico when the Spanish conquistadores first arrived. The majority of research about these groups — collectively named Coahuiltecans — is scarce and little is known about their culture and history.