timbuktuOn February 5th in Atlanta, GA, the Children's Museum of Atlanta opened From Here to Timbuktu: a Journey through West Africa. Sponsored by Delta Airlines and Publix Supermarket, the exhibition is designed to instill in children cultural understanding and appreciation. Children have the opportunity to learn about the cultural differences that make the region distinct while also taking account of the similarities between their own culture and one an ocean away!

The exhibition continues through May 30th, 2011 with activities and exhibitions highlighting the culture, language, cusine and customs of the three geographic regions of West Africa. The activities are hands-on, and children have the can fully participate in cultural re-enactments like fishing with nets similar to those in the West African Coastal Region, climbing aboard a camel as those of the Sahel (desert) region, and walking through the rainforest on the museum's canopy walk! In addition, children are introduced to the Arabic and Taureg languages, two local languages of Mali, as their "voyage" ends in Timbuktu.

In "Timbuktu," children watch a mini-musical called Where in the World Is Timbuktu, led by the museum's own experienced actors and educators. Other programs in From Here to Timbuktu: A Journey Through West Africa include: Folk Tale Story Time, Laugh and Learn: Rhythmic Stories, Rhyming Tales from Mali to Bali, Talking Drums, West African Dance Party, and West African Mask Making.

As cultural understanding becomes more and more vital in today's global society, this exhibition could not be more timely. This is an exciting way to introduce young people to foreign language and culture and to foster early-on a much needed sense of tolerance of and appreciation for cultural differences.

For more information including program schedules, museum directions, and tickets, visit: www.childrensmuseumatlanta.org.