A PLACE That Brings Positive Aspects of World Cultures to Glens Falls

A Message from WACM Founder and Retired Executive Director Jacquiline Touba, Ph.D.

When I first came to Glens Falls in 1980, I had just experienced the revolution in Iran and the Hostage Crisis. Despite this difficult event, I left behind many personal friends and great colleagues at the University of Tehran where I taught sociology. After arriving here, I was surprised to hear many negative comments toward PEOPLE of the non-western world, where governments were warring against each other. If I was going to raise my daughter here, I knew I had to bring the positive aspects of world cultures to Glens Falls.

img_0145For my own daughter, grandchildren, and all the children of the region, I started the International Festival of the Adirondacks, then the International Youth Art Exchange, which eventually led to the creation of the World Awareness Children’s Museum with its go! hands-on interactive world cultural installations.

img_7379These organizations served my family well, especially my daughter who has adjusted easily to living on four continents. Now all three of my grandchildren are globetrotting and becoming world travelers. This summer, I photographed two of them in the African Marketplace at WACM before they left to live in Angola, Africa. They feel quite at home there having experienced Africa already at WACM. I know that others in the community have similar tales to tell. If the Museum has touched even a few of our children, I hope you think it is worth supporting.

At this moment in history, please support this important gem in Glens Falls, as so many have done over the years, so WACM can continue sharing world cultures with the next generation. Many thanks.

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Children’s Museum Shares Positive Messages About Diversity

While reports of bigotry, harassment and intimidation are increasing throughout the nation, the World Awareness Children’s Museum in upstate New York is helping to ensure that children hear positive messages of inclusion, understanding and diversity.

boyUpon entering the World Awareness Children’s Museum in Glens Falls,  children create culturally-inspired experiences to help them form positive ideas about people with whom they share the world.  Siblings shop in the Nigerian Marketplace, placing plastic food in baskets which they balance on their heads. A family takes off their shoes to enter a Japanese washitsu to practice using chop sticks.  A toddler sniffs the offerings featured in a Turkish spice bazaar.  A grandmother gazes at the many pieces of international youth art depicting life in other countries.  These peaceful connections promote positive images of diverse cultures by planting seeds of understanding that will prepare children to be better citizens of our multicultural world.

Museum educational programs, taking place in area schools, libraries, community centers, and in the Museum itself, introduce children to topics related to geography, foods, daily activities and traditions in other countries.  These educational modules provide an opportunity to bring our diverse world to children, the mission of the World Awareness Children’s Museum.

aa-ed3Museum interim Administrator Sheileen Landrey recalls presenting a program on cultural aspects of clothing to a classroom.

“Before the program began, I had heard children laughing at a boy because of his shaved head and the way he was dressed, which were part of an Indian rite of passage and coming-of-age ceremony,” Landrey explained. “I was lucky to have an opportunity to transform the conversation while directly addressing misconceptions and bullying, showing the class that differences are worthy of celebration.”

The Museum’s next exhibition, opening in 2017, will focus on family life in Mexico.

The World Awareness Children’s Museum has been a New York State Designated Charter Museum since 1995.  Its permanent collection includes over 6000 cultural objects and 8000 pieces of international youth art from 140 countries.

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