A special exhibition at Kaleideum Downtown offers visitors the opportunity to take an overseas adventure without leaving Winston-Salem. Children’s China: Celebrating Culture, Character, and Confucius has delighted guests of all ages since opening at the museum in January. The exhibit, part of the Freeman Foundation Asian Culture Exhibit Series, includes six immersive environments, which allow visitors to explore the life of young people in modern China. It was funded by the Freeman Foundation and is administered by the Association of Children’s Museums.
A unique feature of the Children’s China exhibit is the presence of Chinese educator Abby Liu, who serves as both exhibit teacher and cultural ambassador. “There are two main aspects that I like to share with guests,” says Liu. “One is the Confucius philosophy. Confucius was a great teacher, and his philosophy influences a lot of Chinese culture. He taught us the importance of family, friends, love, education, the balance of society and nature, and so on.
“The other thing I like to share is about modern China,” she continues. “China is no longer ‘old China,’ and we have developed a lot. But we emphasize the importance of both tradition and the development of modern life.”
Liu is from Shandong, China, and holds a degree in English from Beijing Language and Cultural University. She is excited to have the opportunity to live in the United States and to learn about our culture as she presents hers. “The questions people ask me are always about the Mandarin language and Chinese characters,” shares Liu. “They think it’s very hard to learn and say Chinese.”
One exhibit gallery, which has proven especially popular according to Liu, is the panda sanctuary. “Kids love playing with the [stuffed animal] pandas,” she says. “They are just so cute!” When asked about the time she has spent in Winston-Salem so far, Liu mentions a favorite new pastime. “I like walking around Old Salem on a sunny day. It is so quiet and peaceful.”
The Children’s China exhibit will remain open at Kaleideum Downtown through May 13 and is included with Museum admission and free for Kaleideum members.