What do children play with in Mexico? How do kids in Somalia learn to read? The Museum of Anthropology’s new long-term exhibit, “Childhood: Exploring Youth Culture Around the World,” answers these and other questions about children’s lives around the globe.
Among the featured artifacts are an early 20th century Chinese doll in the image of a famous opera singer and a Senegalese lunchbox lined with newspaper comic strips. The exhibit also includes a section for visitors to share comments about their memorable childhood experiences.
The exhibition was developed from the work of a Wake Forest class, “Anthropology of Childhood,” taught by Assistant Professor of Anthropology Mary Good during the spring 2015 semester. Under Good’s direction, the students each selected objects from the museum’s collections in the categories of children’s clothing, education, dolls, games or toys. The students researched their artifacts and wrote label text.
Working with museum staff, Good developed the remaining exhibit content. This semester, three Wake Forest students completed internships to assist with the exhibit’s installation.
“It’s been such a rewarding experience for the students and for me to see their final class project turn into something tangible that museum visitors can learn from and enjoy,” Good said. “It also helps students to reflect on how they can communicate knowledge they learn in the classroom about cultural diversity to a broader public audience.”
This exhibit marks the first time in the last decade that a Wake Forest class project has been turned into a full exhibit at the Museum of Anthropology, a trend that promises to continue as the museum increases its collaborations with faculty members in a variety of disciplines across campus.