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Our comprehensive collection includes more than 3,000 artifacts from more than 70 countries across 6 continents.

Student trying on an Indian sari at Millikan Middle School.


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Every year I go to the library and learn something new.
– Martin G., Student
Audubon Middle School




Artifacts for Traditional and Historic Costumes, Good Luck Charms, Toys and Games, and Sports

The Everyday Connections exhibition offers students an opportunity to stand in someone else’s shoes…literally. With historic and traditional costumes, games and sports, and good luck charms students are able to see their Everyday Connections to people around the world. Students will discover that people throughout the world do similar things on an everyday basis: people entertain themselves through playing board games or team sports; people’s superstitions lead them to protect themselves from bad luck through personal talismans or public displays; people dress in the style of their villages, affected by the climate, available materials, religions, and occasion.


Students will be able to try on what people have worn historically and what people wear who live in small villages or for special occasions, such as the tire tread shoes of a Maasai tribesman from Tanzania or wooden geta shoes from Japan.

  • Traditional (non-“modern”) clothing from Africa (e.g. Tanzanian shuka wrap cloth), Asia (e.g. Japanese kimono robe), Central America (e.g. Guatemalan huipil blouse), Europe (e.g. German lederhosen shorts), Middle East (e.g. Lebanese thoub dress), North America (e.g. Mexican serape wrap cloth), and South America (e.g. Ecuadoran yana anacu skirt)
  • Hats from Africa (e.g. Moroccan fez), Asia (e.g. Pakistani pakol), Europe (e.g. Scotts tam o’shanter), Middle East (e.g. Emirati shamaagh), North America (e.g. Mexican sombrero), and South America (e.g. Bolivian chullo)
  • Shoes from Africa (e.g. Nigerian sandals), Asia (e.g. Chinese Lotus shoes), Central America (e.g. Salvadoran huaraches), Europe (e.g. Dutch klompen), Middle East (e.g. Iran giveh), North America (e.g. Canadian moccasins), and South America (e.g. Peruvian ajotas)


Around the world, talismans are seen in many cultures. We look at the artifacts and history associated with these artifacts across societies around the world.

  • Personal charms from Africa (e.g. Ghanaian akua’ba fertility carving), Asia (e.g. Chinese child’s protection hundred day hat), Central America (e.g. Salvadoran ojo de benado evil eye protection bracelet), Europe (e.g. Greek komboloi worry beads), Middle East (e.g. Armenian achkee heloon evil eye protection bracelet), North America (e.g. American Apache burden basket), and South America (e.g. Brazilian figa)
  • House protection charms from Africa (e.g. South African Bahila prosperity charm), Asia (e.g. Japanese maneki neko prosperity charm), Central America (e.g. Salvadoran elephant carving), Europe (e.g. German nussknacker), Middle East (e.g. Turkish nazar boncugu evil eye charm), North America (e.g. American Navajo dream catcher), and South America (e.g. Peruvian ekeko)
  • Fairy tales imparting lessons to children from Asia, Europe, and Central America


Similarities are explored across game types, like the African forms of the strategy game mancala, while a virtually identical game called sungka enjoyed in the Philippines.

  • Strategy games from Africa (e.g. Madagasci mancala), Asia (e.g. Philippine sungka), Europe (e.g. French solitaire), Middle East (e.g. Iraqi ur), North America (e.g. American chess), and South America (e.g. Ecuadoran ajedrez)
  • Dice games from Africa (e.g. Egyptian tawula), Asia (e.g. Korean yut), and North America (e.g. American Chumash pi)
  • Card games from Asia (e.g. Japanese hanafuda), Europe (e.g. Spanish baraja), and North America (e.g. Mexican loteria)
  • Spinning tops from Asia (e.g. Japanese koma), Central America (e.g. Salvadoran trompo), Europe (e.g. Russian dreidel), Middle East (e.g. Israeli dreidel), North America (e.g. Mexican toma todo), and South America (e.g. Peruvian trompo)
  • Hand-held spinners from Asia, Central America, Europe, and North America


Students will learn that games and sports migrate from country to country with immigrants or develop independently.

  • Jerseys and Equipment from Africa (South Africa rugby), Asia (Thai takraw), Central America (Salvadoran futbol), Europe (English cricket), and North America (Canadian ice hockey)


Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum encourages student participation and enhances student learning by providing students with worksheets to be completed during each presentation. As an incentive, students who complete the worksheet receive a foreign coin.

Click here to learn more about the corresponding California Department of Education Content Standards for Commercial Connections.

Do you have an object for our collections? Learn how to donate an object here.

You can also explore our collection by country of origin on our old site.