Hmong dance lessons At the forge Packages of dried mushrooms Eating eggrolls Examining a traditional Hmong hat Arm wrestling Suited up in hairnets and coats for the cheese factory

Location | Themes | Reflections | How We Did It

What the "Hmong at Heart" Museum Exhibit Can't Show

What won’t we be able to show in the museum that is important for understanding Hmong culture?

Sarah | Emma | Jeremy | Martha | Pao | Gabby | Mariah | Pakou | Cristina | Maggie

The most important thing we can’t show in the exhibit is the Hmong people themselves and how generous and kind they are. It is really important that people who see the exhibit feel like they know Hmong people, instead of being outsiders. I really didn’t understand Hmong culture until I became a part of it...
–Sarah

Even after our trip we only know a fraction of Hmong culture. It is so complex, I can’t understand it all. So the exhibit will have only a small piece of Hmong culture...

It cannot show the stuff inside a Hmong person—the thoughts and the feelings of Laos and the war and the abuse they took coming to the U.S. I think those feelings are a big part...but they will be hard to express in a Children’s Museum.
–Emma

I don’t think we can show the war in Laos, because kids under the age of ten wouldn’t really understand it. Kids might freak out and cry. Secondly, I don’t think we can show the shortage of food in the refugee camps, because a lot of kids wouldn’t understand. Kids will come from families that have enough money so they just couldn’t imagine it.
–Jeremy

There are many things the museum will not be able to show, including how nice all the Hmong people were to us on our trip...and all the pain, the confusion, and terror they experienced in Laos and at the refugee camps.
–Martha

We won’t be able to show a k’eng, a shaman, or any sharp object. The k’eng could be broken or else little kids will blow on it and it will have germs. I don’t think you should show a shaman that is a person because he might get tired standing. We can’t show sharp objects because some kids might poke them in their stomachs or be bad and fight with them.
–Pao

You can’t show a funeral and the feeling of being there. How homey and how free it is. How it is like a family gathering...
–Gabby

We can’t show the Hmong butcher shop because it would be too hard to show all the hanging carcasses and blood. And also there would be no butcher to explain why things are done the way they are. And we would not be able to show a Hmong funeral, because we would not have a dead body or rooster with its head cut off.
–Mariah

We certainly can not show butchering . I don’t think kids would like the killing part.
–Pakou

When people start knowing Shamanism, they say this culture is very weird. It will be hard to explain Shamanism good.
We can’t really show them the camps in Laos. Unless somebody has pictures of their memories. I’d think it’s way too sad to remember their memories. I just think the Hmong wouldn’t like their bad memories back.
–Cristina

There are quite a few important things that we won’t be able to show. It would be difficult to get a whole entire village into the small space that’s available to the exhibit. Another thing that’s hard to get into the exhibit is the fighting and shooting of soldiers as the Hmong crossed the Mekong River. A lot of kids think that shooting is fun, but it was scary for the Hmong in real life. But if we make it so people feel how the Hmong felt, it would be too scary for young kids. A room about a Hmong person would be hard, because we don’t want to leave anybody out. If we did traditional it would leave out Christian, and if we did Christian, traditional would be left out.
–Maggie