CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The first stop of the national tour of “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far” developed by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, is on display Feb. 3-May 13 at Creative Discovery Museum.
“America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far” showcases the cultural expressions of various Muslim communities around the world through age-appropriate experiences with art, architecture, travel, trade, design and more.
The exhibit is specifically designed for ages 2-10, but contains elements that will appeal to all ages. The exhibit consists of five major sections: a Global Marketplace, a Trade Routes area, an Architecture area, a Courtyard and an American Home area.
The Global Marketplace has stalls from around the world brimming with sounds, smells, and goods, where children can pretend to buy and sell spices from Egypt, ceramics from Turkey and rugs from Morocco. They can also weigh their fresh catch at the Zanzibar fish market, smell Indonesian fruits, serve Tajik tea and design outfits inspired by West African tailors in Harlem.
Guests learn about the exchange of culture across continents and centuries in the Trade Routes area. Children can climb aboard a replica of a multi-level Indian Ocean dhow (boat) and experiment with navigation techniques, travel to various ports, learn to bargain, and unload goods from around the world. Below deck, they can experience a multisensory exploration of the dhow’s cargo. Children can also decorate a Pakistani truck, then hop in the cab and embark on a pretend trip through the Western Himalayas. They can also climb on top of a life-size camel and journey across the desert.
The Architecture area virtually transports visitors into a series of magnificent mosques from around the world. Breathtaking panoramic images are projected onto a 21-foot curved screen and explore the wide range of architectural styles from Asia to Africa and America. Families can also try their hand at drafting their own structures, complete with domes and arches, while gaining insight into Muslim architectural traditions.
In the Courtyard families can explore key elements of design, water and geometric patterns that are central to a traditional Muslim courtyard. Children are also encouraged to make music with digital instruments.
The American Home area is a contemporary living room filled with objects donated by American Muslims. Guests explore the wide variety of American Muslims’ stories through their unique objects, clothing, art and books. Several display cases will represent members of Chattanooga’s local Muslim community. Guests can also learn to write “My name is…” in 21 languages.
The Museum has planned four events throughout the exhibit’s stay that will provide guests with hands-on, interactive experiences. The events will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 3, March 10, April 7 and May 12. During these events, guests will be able to sample pastries, foods and teas from Muslim countries, watch folkloric dance performances, discover how dress varies from country to country and more. In addition, Museum educators will present a variety of walk up activities on a regular basis. Guests will be able to touch, taste and smell plants and herbs from various Muslim countries. Guests will also explore the different types of currency used in countries throughout the Muslim world.
Funding to create this exhibition was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, MetLife Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Open Society Foundations, The Violet Jabara Charitable Trust, El-Hibri Foundation, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, National Endowment for the Arts, Maison de l’Artisan in Morocco, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s Board of Directors and scores of individuals.
Local sponsorship for America to Zanzibar is provided by the Lyndhurst Foundation.
About Creative Discovery Museum
Creative Discovery Museum is recognized as one of the top children’s museums in the nation. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to educational enrichment for children ages 4 months to 12 through interactive, hands-on experiences that foster creative and critical thinking.
Creative Discovery Museum focuses on a broad range of areas encompassed by Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Technology and the Sciences. In addition to its exhibits, Creative Discovery Museum provides local residents and visitors with special events, educational programming, teacher resources for the classroom, field trips, after school programming, early childhood education classes, artist residencies, camps, art lessons, science demonstrations, and a branch of the local library. Creative Discovery Museum is a funded agency of ArtsBuild and also receives funding support from Tennessee Arts Commission and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
For more information, visit www.cdmfun.org.
About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The non-profit Children’s Museum of Manhattan – a citywide resource for children, families, and educators – works to ensure children thrive at home, at school and in the community. Based on West 83rd Street, with over 350,000 visitors annually, the Museum creates hands-on learning environments, programs, and curricula through an alchemy of fun, research and museum science. In addition to its commitment to delight and educate visitors, the Museum offers resources and strategies for parents, caregivers, and educators to help children become lifelong learners. Thousands more New Yorkers also benefit from the Museum’s offering through its outreach programs at schools, Head Start centers, shelters, libraries, and hospitals. Visit www.cmom.org to learn more.