From The Collection: International Drum Month

Nearly every culture in the world a drum as part of its music heritage. In fact, drums have been found to date back as far as 5500 B.C. in China and have had ceremonial, sacred, and symbolic associations

The three drums below are just a few from our Spiritual Connections collection. You can see some of the visual similarities, which will also relate to the sounds that they create.


Here is what the Darbukka sounds like:

Watch here on YouTube for an example of the Japanese Taiko drums.

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Happy Halloween

Did you know the pumpkin carving tradition we know today evolved from an old Irish tradition of carving turnips, potatoes, and beets?

We wish you a safe and fun Halloween. happyhalloween

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Artifacts played a part in learning history

We love hearing from students who have experienced CCMM and how the artifacts have helped expand their understanding of the world around them.

Summar, a student, shared how he was impacted by the artifacts and how they helped bring the information from his textbooks to life.


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USC IGM Art Gallery Visit

Earlier this year, we were excited to be visited by the USC Institute for Genetic Medicine Art Gallery (IGM AG) Advisory Council Members at the Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica. They enjoyed a personal tour of our exhibit from our CCMM Founder and President, Valerie Lezin and Julia Goldman, Executive Director.

During their visit, we discussed the important role CCMM plays in bringing the ability to explore diversity to discover similarity to students in the Greater Los Angeles area.

Valerie Lezin explains the CCMM mission related to Kofi Annan’s call for Citizen Leadership:

Susan Sims-Hillbrand, Co-Chair Exhibition Committee of IGM AG, discusses art as a tool for bringing the diversity of the world together in one place where students can recognize something that relates to them and empowers them to bring the world together:

Read more about their visit here:

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Thank you teachers!

Today is World Teacher’s Day.

We want to take a minute to thank all the great teachers we have worked with since our start. You provide support and help get our program into the schools for your students, and that makes you an important part of our program.


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International Music Day

It’s International Music Day!

Music. No matter what kind of music you like, the essence of music is something that is universal to all cultures, and to us as humans. Music is something that goes back to early man; instruments have been found dating back 100,000 years. And music from various cultures have influenced new music genres.

Moroccan Darbuka, Indian Jhunjhuna, Cuban Guiro

Moroccan Darbuka, Indian Jhunjhuna, Cuban Guiro

Our extensive collection includes many musical instruments (like the Moroccan Darbuka, Indian Jhunjhuna, and Cuban Guiro) that students can touch and play to understand the similarities and differences that make us unique and special.


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Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Guatemalan Statue

Guatemalan Statue from the CCMM collection

From September 15th to October 15th,  National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

In 1968 under President Johnson, the observation began as Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded it a month, starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

It may seem odd that the celebration starts in the middle of the month. The reason? September 15th is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. It also is close to the independence of Mexico (9/16) and Chile (9/18). Additionally, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

For a list of local events, check out the Latino Heritage LA website.

CCMM helps bring to light the cultures of Latin American and South American cultures to the schools it visits. Click here to learn more about our programs.

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A Visit to Manual Arts High School

It was great to be at Manual Arts High School this past week.

Thank you to Ms. Keough for organizing our visit.  Below you can see students listening to our presentation about the display of artifacts behind them. Students were also able  to compare and contrast cultures from all over the world, touch objects, and discuss their own experiences in relation to the ways people all over the world use similar things to meet the needs of their daily lives.

CCMM at Manual Arts High School

CCMM founder, Valerie Lezin, gives a presentation to students about the artifacts behind her.

As the principal said, “The museum was awesome! Kudos Ms. Keough!”

We couldn’t agree more!

Want CCMM to come to your school? Register your school here.

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How CCMM brings “the world to the kids”.

We are excited to share this article on Upworthy about the work we do. We love that they understand how important it is to bring the world to kids.  Check it out here.
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Día de los Muertos celebrations

💀 Day of the Dead 💀

Mexican "Calavera Catrina."

Mexican Christian (Aztec) holiday (“Dí­a de los Muertos”) object: “Calavera Catrina.” From our “Spiritual Connections” Collection.

Benjamin Franklin famously said the two only certain things in life are death and taxes. Despite our best efforts, there are no havens from death. But, some would suggest that it is our memories of the deceased which allow them to “live” on. All over the world, people remember loved ones who have died and help them in the afterlife through celebrations and festivals. In some cultures, these remembrances are quite elaborate.

In Los Angeles, the largest such celebration is the Mexican Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, happening at the end of October. This Mexican version of All Souls Day has its roots in Catholicism. People build elaborate altars to their dead loved ones in their homes and decorate the deceased’s graves with flowers. Drawing from Aztec traditions, celebrants craft calavaeras, or sugar skulls, as part of the festivities. Every Mexican community has its own celebration. One important one in the Los Angeles community is a week-long series of processions at El Pueblo Historical Monument, 125 Paseo de la Plaza, Los Angeles from October 25th -November 2nd. See website for details.

Other Los Angeles area celebrations include:
October 24th: Día de Los Muertos, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Get details here on their website.

November 1st: Día de los Muertos Family Festival, Museum of Latin America Art, 628 Alamitos Ave. Long Beach. Get more information here. Check their calendar other events throughout the month of October as well.

November 7th: 13th Annual Noche de Altares, 4th and Birch Streets, Santa Ana. Detailed info on their website.

Check out additional listings here for other celebrations near you.

Venerating the dead is shared among many global cultures. Here are some other similar festivities from around the world:

All Saints’ Day
Celebrated in countries around the world, this holiday honors all Christian saints. In many European countries, people bring flowers to the graves of the dead relatives, and in some, relatives light candles on top of the graves. Christians in the Philippines have similar traditions.

Hungry Ghost Festival
In China, this day is celebrated to honor ancestors and to deal with any errant ghosts. Observers burn incense and make food offerings.

An annual Japanese Buddhist commemoration of one’s ancestors. The Japanese believe that each year during Obon, the ancestors’ spirits return to this world in order to visit their relatives. Traditionally, they hang lanterns in front of their houses to guide the ancestors’ spirits, visit graves, and make food offerings at house altars and temples, and at the end of the commemoration, put floating lanterns into rivers, lakes, and seas to guide the spirits into their own world.

A ritual performed by hindus in India to pay homage to their ancestors, especially as a way to express gratitude to their dead parents for having helped them to become who they are. The ritual, especially involving food offerings, may be performed during the Shraaddha Paksha, or Fortnight of Ancestors, a 16-lunar day period.

P’chum Ben
Cambodian Buddhists celebrate the Festival of the Dead at the close Pak Ben, a 14-day event where food and other gifts are brought to monks living in the local pagoda and to their ancestors. Offerings of decorated sweets and fruits are offered with prayers for their deceased relatives. For spirits that wander the world without any living ancestors to care for them, rice mixed with sesame seed are left in front of the pagodas. On the 15th day, family and friends gather for P’chum Ben at their local pagoda for music, speeches, and food in their finest clothing.

Gai Jatra
Festival of the Cows takes place in Nepal in August or September. As part of the celebration, families who have lost a loved on in the last year lead a cow (or child dressed as a cow) in a procession. The revered cow helps lead the deceased family member into the afterlife.

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