Vietnamese folktale exhibit comes to town

February 6, 2007

 

Dragons and fairies are coming to the Children’s Museum of Stockton as part of the largest touring exhibit the downtown attraction has ever hosted.

“Dragons & Fairies: Exploring Vietnam Through Folktales” opens Wednesday and continues through June 2. It is the first travelling exhibit to appear at the museum since spring 2002, said city recreation supervisor Gina Delucchi.

“It’s awesome,” Delucchi said. “It’s very interactive, it’s easy for children to understand, it’s colorful, it’s beautiful.”

Preview

“Dragons & Fairies: Exploring Vietnam through Folktales”

When: Wednesday through June 2

Where: Children’s Museum of Stockton, 402 W. Weber Ave.

Admission: $4.50

Information: (209) 465-4386, http://www.stocktongov.com/childrensmuseum

The 1,400-square-foot exhibit includes interactive activities based on Vietnamese folktales about dragons, orphans, magical trees, kings and emperors. The activities are designed to teach visitors about Vietnamese culture.

Visitors can try on traditional Vietnamese masks and clothing and check out an interactive model houseboat. There is also a scooter that allows riders to feel like they’re navigating Vietnamese urban traffic.

Museum admission will be half-price – $2.25 – from 4-8 p.m. on Thursdays in March, April, and May to encourage people to see the exhibit.

Christina Schmidt McKee, an exhibit developer for the Children’s Museum of Houston, said she hopes “Dragons & Fairies” encourages visitors to reconsider any stereotypes they might hold about Vietnam. The Houston museum created “Dragons & Fairies” as part of the Freeman Foundation’s Asian Exhibit Initiative.

“(Visitors) can gain an appreciation of other cultures,” Schmidt McKee said. “You’ll reconsider who these other people are. They become no longer ‘the other,’ but one of us.”

The Asian Exhibit Initiative includes seven travelling exhibits using a $7 million grant from the Vermont-based Freeman Foundation and administered by the Association of Children’s Museums. The foundation hopes the initiative would give American children an opportunity to experience Asian culture.

Other exhibits focus on Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Hmong culture.

The Stockton museum applied to the Association of Children’s Museum nearly four years ago to host one of the exhibits. Association executive director Janet Rice Elman said that in addition to helping teach Americans about Asian culture, the initiative also provides smaller children’s museums like the one in Stockton with the experience of hosting a large travelling exhibit.

Delucchi said the Stockton museum’s board has discussed hosted more travelling exhibits in the future.

Contact reporter Ian Hill at (209) 943-8571 or ihill@recordnet.com. Visit his blog.

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