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National Museum of the American Indian in New York to Open Youth Center

National Museum of the American Indian in New York to Open Youth Center

Kids can learn about Native American innovations and inventions!

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center in New York, will open a new youth center on May 17, 2018. The center will house Native innovations from history that helped shape the world we live in today. The imagiNATIONS Activity Center will feature "activities developed on principles of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) that embrace scientific and technological advances originated in Native communities throughout the Americas," states the official press release.

On opening day, the museum will host an open house for teachers and will hold school tours starting May 18. During opening weekend, May 19-20, the museum will hold its annual Children's Festival and much of the programming will be geared toward learning about the new imagiNATIONS Activity Center with this year's theme being the aptly titled “Celebrating imagiNATIONS!”

On Saturday and Sunday, May 19–20, from 11am to 5pm many activities will be on-hand for kids to learn about Indigenous cultures of the Americas and their inventions. 

Various presentations will also take place, including those on engineering, math, textiles, and nutrition. Highlights include:

  • Jesús Garcia, a cultural interpreter at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, will demonstrate the art and science of weaving horsehair and agave-rope cordage.
  • Vilma Ortiz-Sanchez and Pamela Woodis will teach Maya math using the principles highlighted in the imagiNATIONS Activity Center.
  • Based on traditional dances, the Powwow Sweat dancers from Idaho will lead participatory dances that make exercise fun.
  • Hawaiian Kapa: Learn about the Hawaiian art of kapa, a traditional craft where pounded bark is used to make clothes and other materials. All will have the chance to create their own kapa-stamped totes.
The imagiNATIONS Activity Center was created with the help of six Native scientists, engineers and inventors throughout more than five years of research states the press release. This center promises to be an immersive and interactive experience for kids and a great way to lean about America's Native cultures.

The National Museum of the American Indian is located at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at One Bowling Green, in Lower Manhattan. For more information visit
Main image via National Museum of the American Indian


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