Monday, July 8, 2013

4-H Cultural Awareness/Asian Adventure

Our latest 4-H theme was cultural awareness, and we started by visiting The Newark Museum for their Asian Awareness guided tour.  Our tour guide was AMAZING!  She had just the right touch of firmness to keep the group under control and moving along.

We started with Japan, when our tour guide put on a beautiful kimono…..



and we saw an exhibit of beautiful carves cases, and ornaments (called Netsuke when worn from the obi, or belt for the kimono).


In the China exhibits, we saw a beautiful garden carved from semi-precious stones and metal.IMG_2661

We moved onto the Southeast Asia exhibits, where George was fascinated by the Dharmachakra or Wheel of Law (from Thailand)….


and a statue of the Hindu God, Ganesha.


The museum has a Buddhist temple that was Consecrated by the fourteenth Dalai Lama.   Our tour guide explained to the kids about being respectful, about the different types of offerings (offerings are intended to be pleasing to the five senses and would include food, flowers, incense, lamps and music).


Next we visited the Look/Touch/Learn: Tibet exhibit.   The exhibit features a mural (by Tibetan Artist Phuntsok Dorje (that depicts various aspects of life in Tibet).IMG_2681

The kids were able to check out a small Tibetan tent…


play a pretend tea ceremony…..

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and spin a Buddhist prayer wheel.


After our official tour was over, we checked out a bunch of the other exhibits, including the Egyptian…

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the Native American….

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the Dynamic Earth, which was full of interactive exhibits and games….

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Generation Fit, another interactive exhibits with exercise equipment, health information, and Just Dance!


We finished up with a visit to the Fire Museum, which featured an interactive exhibit where the kids searched for fire hazards, learned what to do to escape a fire, saw the actual results of a fire on some vinyl siding.  In addition, there was historic protective clothing, equipment, illustrations and memorabilia, an 1853 Fire Hose Cart built for the Neptune Hose Company No. 1 of Newark, and a piece of the World Trade Center to honor the NJ Firefighters who assisted on 9/11.

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The Museum was a great place to visit.  I can’t believe we are less than an hour away and have never visited before.  We will be going back again (actually this month to visit the planetarium) to further explore.

If you live in the area or are visiting NJ, check out The Newark Museum.  I highly recommend it!


When we met at the library, we learned more about Japan, India and China. 

First we discussed some of the various holidays they celebrated in those countries, that we don’t celebrate.  We learned about Children’s Day and Doll’s Day in Japan, Chinese New Year in China (and learned which animal each of the kids are in the Chinese Zodiac), and Diwali and Holi in India.

We learned how to say Hello in the primary language of each country (konnichi wa – Japan, Nin Hao – China, Namaste – India).

We discussed how chopsticks were used to eat in China and Japan, and the kids tried picking up pompoms using chopsticks.


For the first time I utilized the overhead projector and the kids danced to Katti Kalandal – the Bollywood style dance in Just Dance 2. (I tried to find something more authentic but most were not appropriate for children).


We talked about Rangoli, the traditional Indian folk art designs that are displayed on the floor of the house near the doorway to welcome guests and celebrate special events.  Rangoli are usually symmetrical designs made with colored rice powder, but we made ours out of fuse beads (and not so symmetrical).  

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Our next 4-H topic (for July, this post is really late), is Space and will include a visit to the planetarium at the Newark Museum.

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