Where do I want to visit?: Japan

Growing up, I loved the show Pokémon, so perhaps that is why I love Japan. Maybe it is also my age, as I grew up in the 90’s, where an Asian flair for fashion was a trend at one point. Sometime in high school, two of my good friends convinced me to read manga and watch anime, which opened me up to a whole new culture I had never seen before.

My love of Japan continued as I explored videos on YouTube. I love watching content creators, and eventually, I found channels on YouTube featuring different couples. One channel follows two American women who married Japanese men, and it showcases their lives after moving to Japan. I was captivated by how different American and Japanese cultures are and watched every video these creators had to offer. One of these couples is Rachel and Jun. I always look forward to their content because they often talk about the differences between American and Japanese Culture. I also tune in because they have four precious cats, and as a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady, I am there for the cat content!

Another channel showcases Simon and Martina, a Canadian couple who moved to Korea to teach and eventually moved to Japan. Like other content creators, they talk about the differences between western and Japanese culture. My favorite part about their channel is that they tour Japan and teach about Japanese food. They have so many videos trying out different Raman noodles, omurice, sushi, and onigiri, and more. As someone who is not very adventurous with food, I find these videos fascinating. A fun video feature from this channel is when they spend 24 hours in one city and tour as much as possible that time, often giving the history and cultural significance behind the places they go.

My dream is to go to the Japanese countryside and see the mountains. Mountains are just beautiful, and I find the idea of watching people living their everyday lives in the countryside more interesting than a busy city’s tourism. I’ve read that in the country, there are vegetable vending machines that farmers will put out. The food in these vending machines is taken on the honor system, so you pay what you can and take what you need. I can’t imagine that kind of thing happening in America! I’m also interested in the honor that simple acts illicit. Marie Kondo became so popular here in America for a time, and I remember people making fun of the concept of greeting your house. However, in Japan, greeting your house is about honor. It’s about appreciating the little things that make up your life. I’ve even read about a temple dedicated to pets that have passed away. Monks will say a blessing over the animal who has passed away, and people can spread the ashes of their deceased pet around the temple.   Maybe my love started with Pokémon, but someday I hope to travel there and experience the country
for myself.

A Personal Journey

It seems that so much in my life has been preparing me for my role as Executive Director even before I applied to work at the World Awareness Children’s Museum. 

One lesson I learned early in my life, a lesson that has helped me tremendously while working at a cultural museum like I am now, is that it’s important to open myself up to experiences outside of my own culture. 

In April 2013, I was fortunate to be able to leave my job for a month and backpack through Europe. I packed everything into a hiking backpack, hopped on a plane, and landed in Santorini, Greece. I spent the month traveling all over the place: Athens, Greece; Budapest, Hungary; Bratislava, Slovakia; Prague, Czech Republic; Vienna, Austria; Dublin, Ireland; and the Isle of Wight, England. I was young, excited, and undeterred by the idea of sharing a hostel room with 11 strangers. 

Ekklisia Panagia Platsani, Oia, Santorini, Greece, April 2013. Photo credit: Bethanie Muska Lawrence.

One of my goals for this trip was to experience cultures that were different from my own. The most vivid memory I have of this is from the beginning of my travels, while I was on the island of Santorini, Greece.

The owner of our hostel told me about the Sunday morning Greek Orthodox church service on the island cliffside, right outside of our hostel in Oia. I woke up very early that morning to wind so strong it made me worried to walk to the church on the cliffs. However, I braved the gales and arrived safely. The service was all in Greek, which I expected, and was also mostly sung instead of spoken, which I hadn’t expected. 

Oia, Santorini, Greece, April 2013. Photo credit: Bethanie Muska Lawrence

Once during the service, a woman came and spoke to me in Greek, but I told her I was sorry, I didn’t speak Greek. A few minutes later, another woman came over to me, started speaking in Greek, and touched my knee because I’d had my legs crossed. Apparently, that was not appropriate at this Greek Orthodox service. I had no idea! I was so embarrassed because, on top of doing the wrong thing by crossing my legs, I was very conspicuously foreign, and I was the only one not wearing black. This was a very different experience for me and even though I felt so out of place, the people at the church service were incredibly nice and even offered me treats (that they usually reserved for children) as I was leaving.

I learned a lot from this experience. I had, for the first time, felt what it was like to be an outsider with regards to my culture. It has helped me act more graciously towards people who are of a different culture than my own. It also allowed me to see the beauty in cultures that are different from my own, even if I don’t quite understand the meaning behind the rites and traditions. 

Anytime I teach children at the museum about different cultures, I encourage them to be curious, not scared. There are so many wonderful things to see and learn from people all over the world; all we have to do is look!


Author: Bethanie Lawrence, Executive Director

Spring Festivals Around The World

As many countries around the world prepare to shake off the shackles of Winter, they also excitedly organize many special events and festivals to celebrate Spring. While this commemoration may sound universal in nature, each country has its own unique spin in how this season is celebrated. From India to Scotland, Japan to Sweden, there’s an amazing variety of special events in honor of this seasonal change. 

One of the most well-known traditions is the celebration of Holi in India. Known as the “Festival of Colors” or “Festival of Spring”, this festival (originally a Hindu celebration) is widely known for the brightly colored chalk which is thrown around during the observance, but its history is so much richer. While the holiday holds a religious significance to many, it is widely regarded as a way to honor the new season, a hope for a full harvest, celebrating life and love, and repairing broken relationships. While predominantly a Hindu celebration, it has been adopted by many other South Asian countries and other nations around the world. Holi is a 2-day festival that starts on March 29th, 2021. 

Another of the more popular Spring celebrations around the world is the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan. Known as Hamani (which translates to “Flower Viewing”) in Japan, this beautiful event known around the world doesn’t just celebrate Cherry Blossoms, but also Plum Blossoms, which can be seen all throughout Japan. The festival is believed to have started over 1,000 years ago, when Aristocrats enjoyed looking at and writing poems about them. These days, the public widely recognizes this time by enjoying picnics with family or friends under the trees in parks or in nature. However, a Cherry Blossoms bloom only lasts 2 weeks, and the art that honors this staple of traditional Japanese life is known as “Mono No Aware,” which discusses the theme that “nothing lasts forever.” 

In Spain, things get a little rowdier with “Las Fallas de Valencia,”, also known as the Festival of Fire. This celebration honors St. Joseph and is popular due to its use of “Falles” and “Ninots,” which means “puppets” and “dolls,” respectively. Every year has a new theme, and falles and ninots creations are put on floats and often satirical in nature, giving the festival a fun and humorous atmosphere. These artistic creations are often made around the city by different neighborhoods and are organized year-round by a Casal Faller, members of the neighborhood who work hard to raise funds for their creations. The Mascleta, a large fireworks and firecracker display, is set-off every year, and crowds often enjoy large parades, food, music, and “L’Ofrena de Flors,” a traditional flower offering. 

While we are not able to celebrate traditionally this year due to the ongoing pandemic, we hope everyone around the world enjoys their annual Spring festivities in a safe, but fun environment. We look forward to exploring the world of Summer Festivals in an upcoming blog!


About the Author

Shane Frasier is the Marketing & Communications Coordinator at the Museum. He’s been with us since 2017, and enjoys our mission of bringing diversity and culture to the greater Glens Falls area.

November 2020 Events At The Museum: Nov. 1st – 19th

The World Awareness Children’s Museum is excited to announce their series of upcoming events for the month of November! From Storytime, to celebrating Veteran’s Day, there’s something for everyone to enjoy! You can download the calendar for the month of November here.


Wednesday, November 11th: Veteran’s Day Workshop

Learn why red poppies are a symbol of the holiday as we make our own red poppy fields during our Veteran’s Day Workshop on Wednesday, November 11th, 10:30am – 11:30am!
Cost: $6 per child, $3 per adult. Members get $2 off!
Please call 518-793-2773 or email director@worldchildrensmuseum.org to reserve your spot today!
**This program is limited to 10 children**

Friday, November 13th: Storytime Friday!

Join us at the Museum on Friday, November 13th, at 11:00am as we read “The Turnip” by Pierr Morgan and then do a craft! Program is appropriate for all ages.
Cost: $6 per child, $3 per adult. Members get $2 off!
Space is limited, so parents can sign up by calling 518.793.2773 or emailing director@worldchildrensmuseum.org today!

Monday, November 16th: Sensory Playtime

Everyone is welcome during our Sensory Playtime program on Monday, November 16th, at 10:30am! Each child with get their own sensory activity to play with and take home!

Cost: $6 per child, $3 per adult. Member gets $2 off!

Reserve your spot by calling the Museum at 518.793.2773 or emailing director @worldchildrensmuseum.org. Program is limited to 8 children.

Wednesday, November 18th: World Food – What Should I Eat?

It’s harvest time! Join us for a fun, hands-on, and educational program that will help your child understand where corn, wheat, and rice came from, and how they’re traditionally used in different cultures! Explore the use and impact of corn, rice, and wheat in world cultures. Hands-on stations include measurement, setting an international table, and make-and-take project! November 18th program is for kids in Pre-K through 2nd grade.
Cost: $15/child, $5/adult. Members get $2 off!
Call to reserve your spot at 518.793.2773 or email director@worldchildrensmuseum.org today!
Space is limited to 10 children. 

Thursday, November 19th: World Food – What Should I Eat?

It’s harvest time! Join us for a fun, hands-on, and educational program that will help your child understand where corn, wheat, and rice came from, and how they’re traditionally used in different cultures! Explore the use and impact of corn, rice, and wheat in world cultures. Hands-on stations include measurement, setting an international table, and make-and-take project! November 19th program is for kids in 3rd through 6th grade.
Cost: $15/child, $5/adult. Members get $2 off!
Call to reserve your spot at 518.793.2773 or email director@worldchildrensmuseum.org today!
Space is limited to 10 children.

October 2020 Events At The Museum: Oct. 16th – 31st

The World Awareness Children’s Museum is excited to announce their series of upcoming events for the month of October! From Paint & Sips, to celebrating Day of the Dead, there’s something for everyone to enjoy! You can download the calendar for the month of October here.


Little Ones Yoga

Join us on Friday, October 16th at 11:00am for Little Ones Yoga! Led by guest instructor Neha Gowala, little ones will develop proper posture, better balance, and self-awareness in this fun, child-friendly practice. This yoga workshop is suitable for children of all ages!
Program is $6 per child, $3 per adult. Members get $2 off!
Space is limited to 8 children, so parents can 518.793.2773 or email director@worldchildrensmuseum.org to register.

Finger Painting With Friends

Get your hands dirty at our finger painting workshop on Wednesday, October 21st, at 10:30am! We’ll look at all the colors of fall in art from our collection, and learn how to use our hands and fingers to create unique autumnal masterpieces!
Cost: $6 per child, $3 per adult. Members get $2 off!
Please call 518.793.2773 ext. 305 or email director@worldchildrensmuseum.org to reserve your spot today!
**This class is limited to 8 children**

Storytime Friday

Join us at the Museum on Friday, October 23rd, at 11:00am as we read “Thanking The Moon: Celebrating The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival” by Grace Lin and then do a craft! Program is appropriate for all ages.
Cost: $6 per child, $3 per adult. Members get $2 off!
Space is limited, so parents can sign up by calling 518.793.2773 or emailing director@worldchildrensmuseum.org today!

Day Of The Dead Celebration

Culture comes to life through hands-on stations, art, and authentic objects as students celebrate Mexican culture during our “Day Of The Dead Celebration” special event, running Tuesday, October 27th – Thursday, October 29th! Children will learn about ofrendas, learn Spanish words and phrases, and more! All programs run 10:00am – 11:00am.
Cost: $15/child, $5/adult. Members get $2 off!
Space is limited, so parents can register by calling the Museum at 518.793.2773 or emailing marketing@worldchildrensmuseum.org today!
Tuesday, October 27th: For children in Pre-K through 1st grade.
Wednesday, October 28th: For children in 2nd through 4th grade.
Thursday, October 29th: For children in 5th through 8th grade.

Storytime Friday

Join us at the Museum on Friday, October 30th, at 11:00am as we read “Day Of The Dead” by Tony Johnston and Jeanette Winter and then do a craft! Program is appropriate for all ages.
Cost: $6 per child, $3 per adult. Members get $2 off!
Space is limited, so parents can sign up by calling 518.793.2773 or emailing director@worldchildrensmuseum.org today!

 

October 2020 Events At The Museum: Oct. 1st – 15th

The World Awareness Children’s Museum is excited to announce their series of upcoming events for the month of October! From Paint & Sips, to celebrating Day of the Dead, there’s something for everyone to enjoy! You can download the calendar for the month of October here.


Paint & Sip Series

Our popular and family-friendly “Paint & Sip” series returns to the Museum on Wednesday, October 7th and Tuesday, October 13th, 1:00pm – 2:30pm each class! Programs are as follow:

Wednesday, October 7th: Sunflowers Paint & Sip

Tuesday, October 13th: Lake George Waterscape Paint & Sip

Programs are $20 per child/adult duo ($5 for each additional child and $10 for each additional adult). Members get a 50% discount!
Space is limited, so please call us at 518.793.2773 or email director@worldchildrensmuseum.org to sign up today!

**Face coverings are to be warn at all times during the event except while sipping juice**

Friday, October 9th: Storytime Friday – “We’re Going On A Leaf Hunt”

Join us at the Museum on Friday, October 9th, at 11:00am as we read “We’re Going On A Leaf Hunt” by Steve Metzger and do our own leaf rubbings! Program is appropriate for all ages.

Space is limited, so parents can sign up by calling 518.793.2773 or emailing director@worldchildrensmuseum.org today!

Monday, October 12th: Celebrate Indigenous People Of NY!

Learn about the Indigenous People of NY at the World Awareness Children’s Museum on Monday, October 12th, 11:00am – 12:00pm!
Space is limited, so parents should call the Museum at 518.793.2773 or email director@worldchildrensmuseum.org to reserve their space today!

September 2020 Events At The Museum

The World Awareness Children’s Museum is excited to announce their series of upcoming events for the month of September! From Paint & Sips, to exploring local nature trails, there’s something for everyone to enjoy! You can download the calendar for the month of September here.

Young Conservationist Series

The World Awareness Children’s Museum is proud to announce our new “Young Conservationist Series”, presented in conjunction with Saratoga PLAN!

During our Young Conservationist Series, children and families will explore three (3) different Saratoga PLAN nature preserves, where they will get to learn about nature, enjoy some light snacks, and make a craft! Programs are as follows:

  • Sunday, September 20th: Rowland Hollow Creek Preserve
  • Saturday, September 26th: Orra Phelps Nature Preserve
  • Sunday, September 27th: Galway Nature Preserve

Programs are $15 per child, $5 per adult. All programs are about 90 minutes and begin at 11am.
We ask that all attendees wear masks and perform social distancing in accordance with state and federal laws.

Families interested in signing up can call the Museum at 518.793.2773 or email: director@worldchildrensmuseum.org

Thanks to JUST Water for their generous water bottle donation for the event!

Paint & Sip Series

Our popular and family-friendly “Paint & Sip” series returns to the Museum on Wednesday, September 23rd and Tuesday, September 29th, 1:00pm – 2:30pm each class!
Program is $20 per child/adult duo ($5 for each additional child and $10 for each additional adult). Members get a 50% discount!
Space is limited, so please call us at 518.793.2773 or email director@worldchildrensmuseum.org to sign up today!
**Face coverings are to be warn at all times during the event except while sipping juice**
This workshop is aligned with NYS educational standards and is a perfect resource for homeschooling families.

Our Earth: Keep It Clean Series

In this workshop series, students will visit the museum to explore ways the air, land, and water are polluted. They’ll also find ways that they can help make it cleaner by replanting and recycling. Students will analyze art together and learn about the environment around the world, including what they can do to make our earth a great place to live by conserving our resources. Programs are as follows:
  • Thursday, September 24th (For children in 2nd and 3rd grade)
  • Monday, September 28th (For children Pre-K through 1st grade)
  • Wednesday, September 30th (For children in 4th through 6th grade)
Cost: $15/child, $5/adult. Members get $2 off! All programs run 10:00am – 11:00am.
Please call to reserve your spot: 518-793-2773 ext. 305. Each lesson is limited to 10 children, so sign up quickly!
This program meets the following NYS Education Standards:
ELA: Reading, Standard 7; Speaking and Listening, Standard 1; Language, Standard 1
Arts—Visual Arts: Creating, Standard 1; Responding, Standard 7; Responding, Standard 8
Social Studies: Gathering, interpreting, and using evidence; geographical reasoning
Science: Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on living organisms and non-living things in the environment; obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.

Young Conservationist Series

The World Awareness Children’s Museum is proud to announce our new “Young Conservationist Series”, presented in conjunction with Saratoga PLAN!

During our Young Conservationist Series, children and families will explore three (3) different Saratoga PLAN nature preserves, where they will get to learn about nature, enjoy some light snacks, and make a craft! Programs are as follows:

– Sunday, September 20th: Rowland Hollow Creek Preserve

– Saturday, September 26th: Orra Phelps Nature Preserve

– Sunday, September 27th: Galway Nature Preserve

Programs are $15 per child, $5 per adult. All programs are about 90 minutes and begin at 11am.
We ask that all attendees wear masks and perform social distancing in accordance with state and federal laws.

Families interested in signing up can call the Museum at 518.793.2773 or email: director@worldchildrensmuseum.org

Thanks to JUST Water for their generous water bottle donation for the event!

#AdirondackStrong

We are #AdirondackStrong!

#AdirondackStong is a community-based initiative meant to empower and strengthen the Glens Falls, NY area during these trying times. The pandemic has affected us all, and we here at the World Awareness Children’s Museum wanted to do our part by reaching out to local businesses to help spread a positive message about strength, perseverance, compassion, and love. We encourage any and all businesses and individuals who feel as strong and passionately about our community and its strength to post their own #AdirondackStrong message on social media, with the hashtag #AdirondackStrong and tagging the World Awareness Children’s Museum.

A big “Thank You!” to Advokate, LLCPark Theater, and Doc’s Restaurant for their support and video submissions, and we look forward to seeing all of your videos, because we are #AdirondackStrong!