Curating Quilts of Southwest China
Friday, January 20; 12 to 1 p.m.

Lijun Zhang, an alumna of IU (Ph.D. in Folklore, 2014) and Research Curator at the Guangxi Museum of Nationalities, co-curated the exhibit Quilts of Southwest China. During this brownbag discussion, she'll discuss the challenges and joys of a bi-national and bilingual project, as well as the state of Chinese museums today. The event will be free and open to the public, will be co-sponsored by IU's Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology 2017 Colloquium Series.

Exhibition Opening: Quilts of Southwest China
Saturday, January 21; 2 to 4 p.m.

Join us for a family-friendly exhibition opening celebration of a groundbreaking international exhibition. The exhibition was organized by a bi-national consortium of Chinese and American museums, including the MMWC, that has worked together to document and research these textiles--art forms dating back over 3,000 years, but little known outside certain ethnic minority communities in China. Featuring 24 works expertly fashioned, patched, and appliquéd together to form artistic, yet functional textiles, the exhibition presents research and collecting that provides some of the first documentation of the making and use of these textiles.

The exhibit is sponsored by The Henry Luce Foundation. Additional support comes from the IUB Arts and Humanities Council in conjunction with China Remixed: Arts and Humanities in Contemporary Chinese Culture. Project partners include Yunnan Nationalities Museum (Kunming, Yunnan, China); Guangxi Museum of Nationalities (Nanning, Guangxi, China); Guizhou Nationalities Museum (Guiyang, Guizhou, China); Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, Michigan, USA); Museum of International Folk Art (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA); the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Lincoln, Nebraska, USA); the American Folklore Society; and the Chinese Folklore Society.

The event will feature music and food, and will be free and open to the public.

Oracular Tourism: Delphi as Truth-Spot, Then and Now
Wednesday, January 25; Noon to 1 p.m.

Tom Gieryn, IU's Rudy Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology, will discuss the opening chapter from his forthcoming book Truth-Spot: How Places Make People Believe and explore how some places lend credibility or legitimacy to beliefs and claims about the natural/social world, identity, justice, history and memory, and the future. Noting that the "oracle at Delphi is like the Mother of All Truth-Spots, both for ancient Greeks and for tourists today," Gieryn asks: "How do the three ingredients of place (location in geographic space; materialities, both natural and built; narrations that give meaning and value) get combined to persuade Greeks in the archaic period that the Pythia's prophecies are true, and--in different ways--to persuade contemporary tourists that Delphi is an honest and accurate window on Greek culture and practices long ago?" His hint: "museumization."

Family Craft Day: Chinese New Year
Sunday, January 29; 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Help us welcome in the year of the Rooster! Come celebrate the Chinese New Year with cherry blossom painting, noise makers, and other family friendly crafts. The event will be free and open to the public.

Bridges: Children, Languages, World
Saturdays, February 4-April 15; 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., and 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

This award-winning language program for children provides free instruction in beginnng and intermediate Chinese for Pre-K through 8th grade students. The program is supported by IU's School of Global and International Studies, the Center for the Study of the Middle East, the Center for the Study of Global Change, the East Asian Studies Center, the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, and the Russian and East European Institute. For more information, or to register, please contact Suriati Abas at or visit

Exhibition Opening: The Middle East: A Photojournalist's Perspective, 1975-2016
Friday, February 10; 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Join us for a gallery talk by Steve Raymer, curator of The Middle East: A Photojournalist's Perspective, 1975-2016. Raymer notes the exhibit "retraces my travels from the Western Sahara on the Atlantic Ocean coast to Afghanistan during a 40-plus-year career that began at National Geographic Magazine and migrated, at midlife, to the Media School at Indiana University." He'll speak about his work and observations form the field, and a reception will follow the talk. The event will be free and open to the public.

Community Jam Session
Sunday, February 12; 4 to 6 p.m.

Do you play the banjo, fiddle, drum, or another instrument? Interested in jamming with other musicians? This low-pressure, free, fun-filled session will be hosted by IU's Folklore and Ethnomusicology Student Association, but everyone is welcome to join in the fun.

Reimagining Opera for Kids: Rufus and Rita
Friday, February 17; 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Rufus and Rita is musical/theatrical work for young audiences featuring the adventures (and sometimes MISadventures) of a silly dog named Rufus and his owner, Rita. Through a "flexible libretto," the audience votes on what happens next at several points in the story. Thanks to audience participation and the contributions of the individual performers, every show is different! The 30-minute performance is sung in English, is appropriate for all ages, and will be free and open to the public.

Instruments of Culture: The Historical, Social, and Performative Lives of Musical Instruments in China
Friday, February 24; 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Family Craft Day: Mardi Gras
Sunday, February 26; 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Get ready for Mardi Gras with some fun family-friendly crafts! The event will be free and open to the publc.

First Thursdays: Spring Flowers (Fine Arts Plaza)
Thursday, March 2; 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Help us welcome spring with flower making activities based on the Dutch Bloemencorso (flower pageant) festival, as well as other hands-on activities during First Thursdays. The event will be free and open to the public.

Interpreting the Queer Past
Friday, March 3; 4:30 to 6 p.m.

In the United States, mainstream discussion of the history of same-sex love and desire is still relatively uncommon, although that fact is rapidly changing. Spurred on by growing social acceptance of LGBTQ individuals and the federal government's nationwide LGBTQ Heritage Initiative, more and more museums and historic sites are introducing queer topics into their programming and exhibitions. This presentation by Susan Ferentinos, author of Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites (winner of the 2016 book award from the National Council on Public History) will offer an overview of recent efforts in this area, as well as considering some ongoing challenges for bringing the queer past to a wide audience. Ferentinos is a public history researcher, writer, and consultant, specializing in inclusive interpretation and project management for historical organizations. Her clients include the American Association for State and Local History, the National Council on Public History, and the National Park Service. The lecture will be free and open to the public.

Mystery at the Museum
Sunday, March 26: 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Oh jinkies, something's gone missing and we need your help! Come join the gang for a mysteriously good time for the whole family at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. Zoinks! This event will be free and open to the public, but will require registration by emailing or calling 812.855.0197.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Opening Reception
Tuesday, March 28; 5 to 6:30 p.m.

To kick off the month-long celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Asian Cultural Center and the Mathers Museum of World Cultures are co-sponsoring a reception featuring a special one-time showcase of works--paintings. books, and digital arts, among others--by Asian and Asian American students, staff, and faculty. Special guest Popo Fan will help us learn more about his work as a film director and LGTBQ advocate as we begin to explore the theme of this year: "Belonging." The event will be free and open to the public, but please RSVP by contacting or

Lotus Blossoms World Bazaar Family Day (Binford Elementary School, 2300 E. 2nd St.)
Saturday, April 1; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Lotus Blossoms World Bazaar Family Day is a free multicultural arts-and-education event for kids and families. The event features hands-on activities, exploration of world cultures, and live performances, and it's appropriate for all ages, but especially fun for kids K-6 (children must be accompanied by parents/guardians). More than 30 activity stations (including several presented by the MMWC) let kids get their hands on the world, so grab your passport at the door and go!

Beyond the Music: A Musical Geography of Mexico with Sones de México Ensemble
Wednesday, April 5; 7 to 8 p.m.

Sones de México Ensemble was formed as a quartet in 1994 and through the years grew to a sextet of multi-instrumentalists. Today, the original founding members, Juan Díes and Gonzalo Cordova, are joined by Lorena Iñiguez, Zacbé Pichardo, Eric Hines, and Rudy Piñón to form the country's premier folk music organization specializing in Mexican 'son.' All six members of Sones de Mèxico Ensemble are educators and between them, they are skilled at over 80 traditional Mexican folk instruments. Their diverse repertoire, rich in colors, textures and rhythms demonstrates that there is more to Mexican music than mariachi! Each performance intertwines Mexican culture and heritage by featuring the regional styles of huapango, gustos, chilenas, son jarocho through original arrangements and new compositions. Whether they are performing for school children or in front of sold-out audiences across the country, their concerts entertain the senses and explore the riches of Mexican music, dance and culture. This program will be free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Lotus Education and Arts Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

First Thursdays: Dragon Dance (Fine Arts Plaza)
Thursday, April 6; 5 to 7:30 p.m.

We'll be celebrating the opening of the exhibition Beijing's 798 Art Zone by hosting a dragon dance at April's First Thursdays event at Fine Arts Plaza. Dancers from the Indianapolis Chinese Community Center will perform the dance, and guests will have a chance to try on a dragon dance costume. The event will be free and open to the public.

Exhibition Opening: Beijing's 798 Art Zone
Thursday, April 6; 7 to 8:30 p.m.

After the turn of the 21st century, artists and cultural entrepreneurs began colonizing a former military factory complex in northeast Beijing. Taking its name from that numbered factory, the 798 Art Zone is an urban arts colony that now attracts visitors from around China and the world. Offering a glimpse of a compelling place that is both visually saturated and reflective of the state of contemporary arts and society in present-day China, Beijing's 798 Art Zone introduces the district and its ever-changing artistic landscape through photographs. The event will be free and open to the public.

Beauty with Hidden Flaws: Maintenance and Transformation of Sowei Identity Through Repair and Alteration
Friday, April 14; 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Kristin Otton, a Ph.D. student in IU's Department of Anthropogy, will discuss the aesthetically distinctive, helmet-style sowei masks of West Africa's Sande (or Bundu) society, which have become fixtures in many Western museum collections, including the Mathers Museum's collection. Scholarship has yielded important insights into the beautiful, stylistically standard aesthetic markers of sowei that materialize symbolic and cultural values. Attention to non-standard features, however, reveals practical formation of individualized form and identity. Close examination of the sowei masks in the collections of the Mathers Museum, National Museum of Natural History, and the National Museum of African Art reveal instances of intervention over time on the vast majority of the sowei masks. These interventions include physical alteration of the material form, repair of damage, maintenance or application of aesthetic standards, and transformation of identity. The physical evidence of these actions not only indicates the continued process of making sowei, but also illustrates the active and purposeful negotiation of the continuum between beauty and ugliness by both local and global forces. Otto's Her research focuses on the production and consumption of knowledge about Africa based on material culture in the museum setting. The event will be free and open to the public.

Film Screening: Peasant Family Happiness
Wednesday, April 19; 5 p.m.

Directed by Jenny Chio (2013), this film depicts the everyday experiences of "doing tourism" in two rural, ethnic tourism destinations in contemporary China: Ping'an and Upper Jidao villages. By focusing on the perspectives of village residents, the film portrays how they negotiate between the day-to-day consequences of tourist arrivals in their home villages, ideal projections of who they are, and what they can achieve through tourism development. The event will be free and open to the public.

Global Dance Workshop
Wednesday, April 26; 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Here's your chance to learn tango, two-step, and other dances from around the globe. Teaching sessions will start at 4:30 p.m., and will be followed by an opportunity to practice practice what you've learned. The event will be free and open to the public, but please don't wear flip-flops or sandals.

Family Craft Day: Papermaking
Sunday, April 30; 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Get your family together for a fun-filled afternoon of papermaking! Sessions will start at 2, 2:30, and 3 p.m. to ensure time for instruction and allow for time to make paper. Wear clothes you don't mind getting wet or messy. Weather permitting, we'll work on the south lawn of the museum. The event will be free and open to the public.

First Thursdays: Relax with the Mathers Museum (Fine Arts Plaza)
Thursday, May 4; 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Join the Mathers Museum and special guest instructor Kristin Otto at First Thursdays for yoga, mandala coloring, and other relaxing activities. As always, the event will be free and open to the public.