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Museum Officials from Eight Countries Visit Fowler Museum of Cultural History

Museum Officials from Eight Countries Visit Fowler Museum of Cultural History

Delegates from Middle East, Central America, Eastern Europe, Africa, and South and Southeast Asia choose UCLA for university segment of study tour of American museums.

By Samantha O. Popoy

An 8-member multinational delegation, each from a different country, visited UCLA's Fowler Museum of Cultural History April 30 as part of a study tour on "The Role of Museums in American Society." Their UCLA goal, acording to letters arranging the visit, was to "experience art and cultural collections at a major U.S. university." The group consisted of delegates from Bahrain, Brunei, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Kenya, Malaysia, and Nepal.

The group is spending 25 days in the United States, where Los Angeles was their second stop. They had first spent 8 days in Salt Lake City, and went on from Southern California to Tulsa. While in Tulsa, their focus was to be on American Indian art and culture. From Tulsa, they were to travel to New Orleans for a convention and finally will end in Washington D.C.

While waiting for the meeting to begin, Janice Brummond, English Language Officer and escort, led the group in singing "Happy Birthday" to one of the delegates, Michal Lukes of the Czech Republic. She presented Lukes with a birthday card, and a purple ribbon that he happily put on. Afterwards, a few of the delegates began to sing "Happy Birthday" in their native languages.

They then began their meeting with Betsy Quick, director of education for the museum. She discussed the Fowler’s mission statement, structure, educational program, and funding. Of particular interest were the differences between a university-based museum as compared to a community museum. Ms. Quick explained that the university museums are "able to take more risks" in terms of what types of exhibitions they will display.

Mr. Bishnu Raj Karki of Nepal was most interested in the museum's K-12 educational program and was curious as to how they were able to attract teachers to utilize the museum and their program. Ms. Quick explained their offering of continuing education credits and professional development to teachers. Curriculum Resource Units are offered in conjunction with the museum's major exhibitions, and are intended to broaden teachers' and students' understanding of world arts and cultures. These in-depth units of study include interdisciplinary lessons, learning objectives, and background information for teachers. Lessons are closely correlated with the National Standards for History, the California State Frameworks for History and Social Sciences, Art and Literature, and the state-adopted Houghton Mifflin social science textbook series. Units of study are intended both as preparation for students' visits to the museum and as sustained resources for teachers in ongoing curricular planning.

Members of the delegation included:

BAHRAIN: Mr. Yusuf Mohamed Abdulrahman MAHMOOD, director of the Bahrain Contemporary Art Museum in Manama

BRUNEI: Mr. Batong BIN ANTARAN, deputy director of the Department of Museums in Bandar Seri Begawan

CZECH REPUBLIC:  Mr. Michal LUKES, director general of the National Museum, Prague

EL SALVADOR: Ms. Lilly Patricia LEMUS de BANOS, director of the David J. Guzman National Museum of Anthropology, San Salvador

GUATEMALA: Ms. Ana Claudia MONZON de SUASNAVAR, director of Didactic Museology, Museum of Science and Technology, Guatemala City

KENYA: Mr. Ibrahim Mohamud ABDILLAHI, curator, Lamu Museum, National Museums of Kenya, Lamu

MALAYSIA: Mr. Syed Mohamad MOHD NURSIN, founder-director of the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur

NEPAL: Mr. Bishnu Raj KARKI, undersecretary, Department of Archaeology, Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, Bhaktapur

They were accompanied by English Language Officers Ms. Janice Brummond and Mr. William (Toney) Seabolt.

UCLA International Institute