Museums Teach Through Stories

Mary Catherine Bateson is an American writer and cultural anthropologist. She is known for making the statement that “The human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.”

When a person attends a museum, they learn through stories. When a student visits a museum, that student hears and even experiences the story of people from far away lands. Museums have a great deal to offer the educational process in America. Within 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. Museums are recognizing the value they can offer education and are reaching out to the community.

As is stated in The Foundation’s post on Why Museums are Important, “Museums provide a unique interactive experience of getting up close to things we usually only see in books, newspapers or on the television.” 

The International Museum of Cultures is able to bring the stories through artifacts right to the student anywhere in the Continental United States so that the student can have a personal experience with tools, clothes, and instruments from far away lands. The student is then better able to understand different cultures without pre-judgement when encountered by a person of an unfamiliar culture.

These artifacts can be shipped to the educational facility with a complete curriculum that fits into any Project Based Learning initiative. The shipped artifacts to the educational facility is called a Discovery Box. Discovery Boxes allow students to experience cultures around the world in a unique and interactive way.

Artifact Discovery box

Artifact Discovery box

Discovery Boxes

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.

For more information about Discovery Boxes from the International Museum of Cultures, please call us at 972 572-0462 or email us at info@internationalmuseumofcultures.org

Multi-Sensory learning at the Museum

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

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

Interns Learn the Value of a Museum in the Educational Process

These are such exciting days at the International Museum of Cultures. Everything is abuzz with interns from TCU and OCU, as well as a graduate from Iowa State. We also have high school students earning their Community Service hours, a graduation requirement for certain High School students here in Texas.

What is exciting about having these young interns is that they will experience, first hand, the value that a museum brings to the education process. As is stated in The Foundation’s post on Why Museums are Important, “Museums provide a unique interactive experience of getting up close to things we usually only see in books, newspapers or on the television.” These interns will see how incredibly important it is for young people to see and touch artifacts from different cultures that they have only been able to read about.International Museum of Cultures Music Discovery Box

Bring the Museum to the Student

The International Museum of Cultures is able to bring those artifacts right to the student anywhere in the Continental United States so that the student can have a personal experience with tools, clothes, and instruments from far away lands. The student is then better able to understand different cultures without pre-judgement when encountered by a person of an unfamiliar culture.

These artifacts are shipped to the educational facility with a complete curriculum that fits into any Project Based Learning initiative.

The shipped artifacts to the educational facility is called a Discovery Box. 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 with a complete curriculum for the teacher. 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

Learn More about Discovery Boxes

If you would like to learn more about the Discovery Boxes from the International Museum of Cultures, please contact the Museum at (972) 572-0462

As Education Transforms in the United States, Museums Play a Larger Role

Elaine Gurian wrote a paper about the opportunities for museums to deliver educational services that are more substantial and more central than is currently the norm. In this paper called  Opportunity for Museums in Light of Elementary and Secondary School Reform in the United States, Ms. Gurian states;

Museums, I hope, will capitalize on all these avenues of possible instruction methodologies and offer multiple content selections delivered through diverse methods and thereby become approved variants on classroom instruction in every town where they exist.

The International Museum of Cultures (IMC) agrees that museums should take a larger role in education. The IMC has embraced technology and delivers electronic field trips directly to the classroom using the Internet. The IMC also provides hands-on projects where the children can touch and interact with the museum’s artifacts right in their own classroom.

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 972 572-0462

Entering a New Era in Education

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.

How Native Australians Make a Didgeridoo

The Didgeridoo (Yirdaki)

The didgeridoo is thought to be one of the oldest instruments in the world, its usage dating back tens of thousands of years. The instrument itself is at the core of the historical, ceremonial, and cultural practices of the groups that use it.

Didgeridoo from the International Museum of Cultures

Although the didgeridoo has become a symbol of Australia Aboriginal culture throughout the world, it was originally only used by a few groups in the northeast part of Australia.

Some also call a Didgeridoo a Yirdaki. According to didjeridu.com,“the yirdaki is merely a type of didjeridu, a form that is used by the Yolngu people of north-east Arnhem Land. The yirdaki is quite different to other types of didjeridu because of its particular acoustic properties, though this in itself shows variance according to regional preferences and prescribed law among Yolngu clan groups.”

Its low, droning sound is thought to connect individuals with nature and the spirits of “Dreamtime,” or a time of the past when deities were involved in human affairs. Teachers also use the didgeridoo to imitate nature and animal sounds while teaching children about the world around them. Today, didgeridoos have gained worldwide appeal, but many feel like this is at the expense of their traditional sacredness. This didgeridoo, like the majority in the market today, has been produced for commercial purposes but is modeled after traditional designs.
   

Making a Didgeridoo by a Native Australian

To make these instruments the native Australians find a Eucalyptus which is partially hollowed out by termites. They remove a piece of bark and tap the tree to judge the sound before they begin cutting at the base of the tree. Once the tree is cut, and if the hollow inside it is the right dimension, the maker will then cut a 4-6 ft. long section of the tree. To ensure the wood does not crack, the log is cured, either by soaking in water for days or weeks, or by allowing it to completely dry out. All the bark is then stripped from the wood, and if necessary the walls are carved down to reduce the thickness, and sometimes the hollow of the log is better cleaned out as well. After this is complete, a mouthpiece is formed from beeswax, and the instrument is decorated, either with specific patterns for ceremonial use, or to the makers liking if for personal use.

You can learn more at the International Museum of Cultures  a unique anthropology museum. The museum is located in southwest Dallas County. However, the museum also provides transportable artifacts (Discovery Boxes) and an Electronic Field Trip for education on indigenous cultures from around the world.