Dang Yang playing a Hmong flute Photo of a subject on the bus taking a photo of the photographer Taking notes on the bus The kids taking notes Izzy taking notes Playing on a playset in the park Playing football in the park

Location | Themes | Reflections | How We Did It

Design Ideas for Exhibit


Sarah M. | Gabby | Izzy S. | Maggie | Benjamin | Nate | Pao | Martha | Alex | Pakou | Dylan | Erika | Cristina | Tim | Thomas

Laos:
I think it is very important to show that farming was very, very important [to the Hmong], because then people will imagine how hard it was to go to a big, fenced-in camp [in Thailand] where you can’t farm.

Outside, there should be a big photo on the wall [to show] how green and pretty the landscape is.

Thailand:
Most important is to show how, [even with] so many changes, culture and tradition [were] preserved.
–Sarah M.

Laos:
I think one of the most important things is for people to see how self-sufficient the Hmong were.

Thailand:
On the walls, show a barbed wire fence to show [that] they couldn’t get out.

Have a mail house with letters from the Hmong in America saying how weird and different [life] was in America.

USA:
The most important thing is to say the children live in two different worlds every day.

We could have a school room to teach us some Hmong, like an ESL class only HSL(!)
–Gabby

Thailand:
In the refugee camp there would be a house, cooking storage for the food and people could see how little food the Hmong refugees would get in a day.

USA:
To cross over [to America] there could be a little room [like an] airplane and there could be tapes of people speaking in a different language [to show how confusing it must have been].

The house would show the components of Hmong and American culture and how they intertwined when the Hmong came to America.
–Izzy S.

Laos:
It’s most important, I think, that they learn about the houses. They were made of bamboo, no carpets, no couches, nothing modern. There were [very] different jobs/chores. That’s why I gave [Laos] more space.

Thailand:
They should learn about how hard it was in Thailand, with no jobs or money, being fenced in and how scary it was. But they should also learn the positive side: the games, the happinesses.

USA:
They should learn about the difficult change the Hmong people made when they came here. Perhaps, afterwards, they should feel like they [just] came from Laos to Thailand to America.
–Maggie

Thailand:
The most important thing is that there were troubles and good things in the camps.

USA:
[There could be a store where] you shop but the labels and everything are in Hmong.
–Benjamin

Laos:
The second stop should be the rice pounding area so they could learn to pound rice the old-fashioned way.

Thailand:
The camps were not at all fun with lack of food and things to do.

It would be a good idea for kids to learn about how when the Hmong came they weren’t greeted by a five-star hotel but just dirt.
–Nate

Laos:
Visitors should learn that Hmong life was hard and there was lots of war.

Thailand:
One thing people should learn is that life in Thailand was very boring.

USA:
They should learn that Hmong means being free.
–Pao

Laos:
I tried to make [my ideas] respectful so if a Hmong person came in they wouldn’t think the exhibit was stupid.
–Martha

Thailand:
The single most important thing is to make sure visitors understand the differences between an immigrant and a refugee.
–Alex

Laos:
The war is the most important thing visitors should learn about Hmong life in Laos.

Thailand:
[Visitors should learn] how the Hmong became refugees and where the refugees settled [after leaving Thailand]

USA:
Gardening and needlework [are important] because [you] garden to get food and you can sell the needlework and get money.

(Suggesting a hands-on activity) I would go with dancing. I don’t think it is easy for American people to do, but for the Hmong it’s easy.
–Pakou

Laos:
[It’s important] to show what Hmong life was like before the war and the camps.

In the games section there should be room to [actually] play the games.

There should be enough room to tell, in depth, about Shamanism.

USA:
[It’s important for people to understand] the difficulties the Hmong have in America due to language barriers and cultural differences.

There should be a normal Hmong kid’s bedroom with some Hmong things and American things in it.
–Dylan

Laos:
The most important thing I need to get across is that the Hmong were happy in Laos and REALLY didn’t want to move.

USA:
[The exhibit should show] a summary of what the trip [to America] was like and the changes the Hmong had to go through! Which were a lot.

[It’s important] to show the FULL journey and that the Hmong are also quite happy here.
–Erika

Laos:
Two very important things visitors need to know are who are the Hmong and that they are very nice and don’t make much trouble. I picked Tub Lub and sticks and rock because I know they are Hmong games because we’ve been playing them with our Hmong friends.

Thailand:
I think the most important things are family, health, shelter, and food because all of this stuff is very important to your life and health. I put the fence in because I didn’t really know what else to put in for the refugee camp but I think it is very important. I added a flute because I remember what Dang Yang said about carving flutes for fun.

USA:
The most important thing is that Hmong [culture has much] in common with us and we can relate and communicate.

Celebrations are very hard, especially in a different country [where] you can’t get the things you want [for celebrations].

Culture is what made you. It’s your whole life.
–Cristina

Laos:
The Hmong home in Laos is back-to-back with the refugee house and a doorway allows one to compare the two.

Thailand:
People could play school, draw water from the well, get rations and mail and, hopefully, get a good idea of [life in the] Thai refugee camps.
–Tim

Laos:
I think the way they were just peacefully living in Laos, repeating traditions and making [new ones] is something visitors should learn.

USA:
[Visitors should learn that Hmong] culture is really close to yours.
–Thomas