Cultures Up Close Archive

Pacific Islands: Paint a Tapa Cloth

As May ends, we continue to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with this post about tapa cloth. Tapa Cloth Tapa cloth, also called bark cloth, is found throughout the Pacific Islands of Hawaii, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and others. Tapa cloth […]


Ghana: Weave a Kente Cloth

The invention of kente cloth is often attributed to the Ashanti people in Ghana. An Ashanti legend called The Spider Weaver tells how two young men were taught to weave kente cloth by a spider. You can listen to the story here. However, the […]


Native American Heritage Month: Make & Play the Bean Game

To celebrate Native American Heritage Month here’s a game to play with loved ones during the holidays. The origins of many Native American games are related to spiritual beliefs. Games were played ceremonially to bring rain, ensure good harvests, cure illness, expel evil spirits, or […]


Hispanic Heritage Month: Create a Nicho

Dating back to the Spanish Colonial period, nichos are a type of folk art popular throughout Central and South America. They began as an adaptation of the Roman Catholic ‘retablo’, which is a painting of a patron saint on wood or tin. In different places, nichos […]


Summer Fun: Make a Spinning Top

To celebrate summer, this month we’re going to have fun learning about and making spinning tops. History Spinning tops developed independently in cultures all over the world. They are among the oldest recognizable toys found by archaeologists and have been found on every continent except […]


Papua New Guinea: Make a Shell Necklace

To celebrate May being Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, this segment explores a few more of the museum’s objects from Papua New Guinea. You can see our previous post about how to make a drum from Papua New Guinea here. Papua New […]


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