4 Summer Opportunities for Cultural Growth in Minnesota

June’s Curiosity of the month explores the cultural growth opportunities and all sorts of ways to have fun in Minnesota this summer! 

Vocabulary Words to Share with Students

Cross Cultural: relating to or involving two or more different cultures or countries

Cuisine: a style of cooking

Ethnic: of or relating to races or large groups of people who have the same customs, religion, origin, etc.

Heritage: the traditions, achievements, beliefs, etc., that are part of the history of a group or nation

Influential: having the power to cause changes : having influence 

Institute: an organization created for a particular purpose (such as research or education)

Migration: to move from one country or place to live or work in another

Nomad: a member of a group of people who move from place to place instead of living in one place all the time

Nordic: of or relating to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and sometimes Finland and Iceland, or to the people who live there

Perspective: a way of thinking about and understanding something (such as a particular issue or life in general)

Summer is typically considered, by kids, as a break from school, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a break from learning. In fact, the unstructured days of summer are the perfect time for exploration of new ideas, places, and experiences. Today’s blog post is going to cover four different places and events that you can take the children in your life (and adults too!) to stretch their perspectives and comfort zones, all with the goal of becoming a more culturally aware, accepting, and open-minded Minnesota citizen.

This is just a short list of fun places to explore. Comment with your favorite places to visit and we may include it in an upcoming post! 

American Swedish Institute

Located in Minneapolis, the American Swedish Institute “is a gathering place for all people to share experiences around themes of culture, migration, the environment and the arts, informed by enduring links to Sweden.” At the institute visitors can tour Turnblad Castle, take a language workshop or craft class, learn about the history of the Vikings, eat delicious nordic cuisine and shop for nordic inspired gifts. Minnesota is home to more Scandinavians than any other state. Learning about this influential heritage group will increase your understanding of our state and its origins.

Hmong Cultural Center

The Hmong Cultural Center, located in St. Paul, works to promote positive race relations in the Twin Cities community through art and education. The organization strives to promote the personal development for people of all ages through providing resources that enhance cross-cultural awareness between Hmong and non-Hmong. Free language courses and citizenship classes as well as interactive exhibits and outreach seminars are provided. The Hmong Cultural Center is home to the most comprehensive collection of Hmong-related literature in North America. On June 26 stop by the center for a demonstration on traditional cultural arts of the Hmong people! The center is also open for school field trip groups!

The Somali Museum of Minnesota

The Somali Museum, located in Minneapolis is the ONLY museum dedicated to the Somali people, in the ENTIRE world! Founded in 2011 and opened to the public in 2013, this museum seeks to “make it possible for young Somalis who have grown up in the United States to connect with their culture, as well as Minnesotans of other ethnic heritages to encounter Somali art and traditional culture for the first time.” One of our favorite offerings of the Somali Museum is a hands on art class in which participants are taught how to weave Somali nomad mats. Dance troupe performances, tours and field trips are also available! The Minnesota History Center will also be opening a new exhibit in June featuring Somali Culture.

Midtown Global Market

If you’d like the chance to experience a whole bunch of cultures and heritage groups in one place, check out the Midtown Global Market! The old Sears Building in South Minneapolis features food, music, and goods from over 50 different heritage groups. In this place you can hear many languages, taste a variety of cuisine styles, smell spices from around the world, see skin in wonderful array of colors and feel like you are truly a part of a global community… all without leaving Minnesota! Listen to live music, shop for unique gifts, people watch and more in this incredible public market.

So what are you waiting for? Get out your calendar and plan your next summer adventure, all without leaving the state! If you know of other great events, museums, or learning experiences please share them with us! Who knows, maybe you and your group will be featured on our blog next month!