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

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.

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

The Roles of Museums and Anthropology

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.

Museums Embrace a Greater Role in Education

Museums are providing more value to educational institutions.

In the past, the museum was considered a source of information. That is still true. But, that information is now being presented through methods that demonstrate how an individual’s personal life and culture are effected by this information.

International Museum of CulturesMuseum education has been going through a transformation. The modern museum has become more than just an informational source, but, has now become an environment for learning. This broader scope gives the museum a role in education that has a greater impact on our society.

Museums provide a place for the student to discover information. Learning through discovery drives creative thought and innovation. The modern museums that have embraced their expanded role in education have become more than a didactic source. We see examples of this at the MOMA LEARN initiative, for instance. MOMA provides resources for teachers to help integrate the teaching of Modern Art into their classrooms, creating group discussion and exploring individual interpretations.

At the core of the learning museum environment is the museum’s exhibits.

Electronic Field Trip of the IMCThrough technological advances, this environment can be transported to the student without having to leave their classroom. At the Museum of International Cultures (IMC), virtual field trips and curricula are provided to the learning institution to bring the museum’s anthropological value to the classroom, anywhere in the world. In addition, Discovery Boxes allow students to experience cultures around the world through a variety of objects from IMC’s collection. These programs integrate into science, social studies, fine arts, English language arts, and math.

Contact the IMC to discuss your educational objectives and how museum education can be integrated into your curriculum.

Discovery Boxes

The Discovery Box

Discovery Boxes allow your students to experience cultures around the world in a completely different way! Discovery boxes come in 12 different themes and include a variety of objects from our museum’s collection. Your students will be able to touch and examine the objects while completing included activities and worksheets that encourage them think critically about the world around them.

For more information, contact us at the International Museum of Cultures

Artifact Discovery box

Boxes include:

  • 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

 A Day in the Life of Other Cultures

Help your students to better understand how people around the world live everyday.  Although the objects in this Discovery Box may seem mundane, they are all cleverly made tools that reflect what kinds of environments the peoples live in, what kinds of houses they live in, what they eat, and even how they may look! Your students’ job is to try to discovery what each people group is like by the objects that they use.

Discovery Boxes Contain

Our Discovery Boxes compile objects used mostly by indigenous peoples around the world. Each box focuses on a theme common to people everywhere, and corresponding curricula appropriate for multiple grade levels provide information and activities about the objects from an anthropological perspective. The guided activities help students ask important questions about both their own and others’ lives.

Box includes 13 items from Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, and the Philippines.

Humans of all cultures admire and create beauty. We’ve gathered some of the most stunning examples of how people adorn themselves with what they consider to be beautiful. This box includes necklaces, belts, headdresses, and several other types of adornments, and the meanings associated with the objects are particularly important. Students are encouraged to focus on and appreciate the details of the objects, how they are used, and what they mean to the people that wear them.

Students are encouraged to touch the objects, giving them a much more interactive and personalized experience than a traditional field trip to a museum. Give your students a truly eye-opening and hands-on lesson unlike anything they’ve experienced!

Suitable for

  • K-3 General Social Studies
  • 6th World History
  • 9th World Geography
  • 10th World History

For more information, call us at 972-572-0462 or email us at info@internationalmuseumofcultures.org

We also have museum virtual tours (efield trips).