View Events By Month
First Thursdays Festival (at Fine Arts Plaza)
Thursday, September 5; 5 to 8 p.m.
Join the MMWC at First Thursdays Festival to learn more about the Clio app, a tool you can use to find historic sites on campus and around our community. While you’re there, pick up a free copy of the “Museum Miles” walking tour map—we’ll have other swag as well! The event will be free and open to the public, and sponsored by the IU Arts and Humanities Council.
Poetry, Memory, and Art with Jenny Kander
Tuesday, September 10; 2:30 p.m.
Come to this afternoon conversation with elder poet and textile artist Jenny Kander. She will talk about her life of words and art, and discuss how her creative practice has supported her in later life. A well-regarded elder in Bloomington’s poetry circle, in recent years she has mixed words, stories, and needlework, to make narrative dolls that enable her to share stories about humanity that are both humorous and hard. Interspersed in her poems and stories are biographical reflections and personal memories. Themester 2019 – Remembering and Forgetting, an initiative of the IU College of Arts and Sciences, will sponsor the event, which will be free and open to the public.
Curator’s Talk--Circling the Square: The Nature of History in an Indiana Town
Thursday, September 12; 5 p.m.
Eric Sandweiss, IU Professor and Carmony Chair, Department of History and curator of “800 Seasons: Change and Continuity in Bloomington, 1818-2018,” will discuss the exhibition, which tells the story of Bloomington from the ground up. How do nature and history shape one another in the American Midwest—and how are Bloomington’s possibilities for tomorrow shaped by 200 years of community building in the southern Indiana hill country? The event will be free and open to the public, and will be sponsored by IU’s Grand Challenges: Prepared for Environmental Change.
Cicada Song—A Workshop/Demonstration of Music and Culture of the Dong (Kam) People of Southwestern China
Thursday, September 26; 5 p.m.
Living in the mountainous areas of Southwestern China, the Dong (Kam) people have developed a unique culture in which music plays a central part. Without a traditional written language of their own, the Dong people transmit much of their history, culture, and knowledge through songs, especially the Grand Song, a unique polyphonic a cappella that was proclaimed by UNESCO as a masterpiece of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009. Hosted by ethnomusicologist Mu Qian and performed by the Yandong Grand Singers, this workshop/demonstration will showcase Dong songs and their contexts, such as courting songs performed as part of young people’s social events. The musicians will also teach participants to sing songs like the Cicada Song, in which the singers imitate the flickering of cicadas’ wings with quick sextuplets. The event will be free and open to the public, and will be sponsored by the East Asian Studies Center and presented in partnership with Lotus Education and Arts Foundation.
Lotus in the Park (at Waldron, Hill, and Buskirk Park--Third Street Park, 331 S. Washington St.)
Saturday, September 28; Noon to 5 p.m.
Lotus in the Park features music and hands-on activities from around the world--free and fun for all ages. Visit the Mathers Museum tables to learn more about “Aboriginal Bark Painting from Northern Australia,” and boomerangs. Try your hand at making a boomerang during the event! Lotus in the Park will be free and open to the public.
“Some Dance to Remember, Some Dance to Forget”
Thursday, October 3; 2:30 p.m.
Dance is not just for the young, and The Still Kicking Cloggers and the Heritage Place Ladies of the Dance will prove that point during a dance demonstration/conversation at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. Dance is not only good for the body; choreographed dance helps elders maintain and strengthen their memory. Come learn how dancing supports the creative lives of these elders from Indianapolis. Themester 2019 – Remembering and Forgetting, an initiative of the IU College of Arts and Sciences, will sponsor the event, which will be free and open to the public.
First Thursdays Festival (at Fine Arts Plaza)
Thursday, October 3; 5 to 8 p.m.
Celebrate the arrival of fall and prepare for Sukkot with harvest-inspired activities at the Mathers Museum First Thursdays booth. The event will be free and open to the public, and sponsored by the IU Arts and Humanities Council.
Curator’s Talk--Framing Sukkot: Jewish Ritual Architecture and Contemporary Life
Friday, October 4; 4:30 p.m.
During this talk, curator of the exhibit “Remembering the Ephemeral: the Ritual Architecture of Sukkot in Contemporary Life,” Dr. Gabrielle Berlinger will explore how the ancient religious ritual of Sukkot can communicate current social and political needs. The Sukkot observance that she documented in photographs from 2007 to 2015 illustrate the Jewish holiday’s central rite of building and “dwelling in" temporary shelters that evoke the physical and metaphorical experience of wandering in the wilderness. This ritual construction is founded on notions of hospitality and conceptions of home, and when juxtaposed against the Occupy Movement (2010-11) and the migration of African asylum seekers into Israel (2006-present), these themes become resonant in new ways. Berlinger is Assistant Professor of American Studies and Folklore, and the Babette S. and Bernard J. Tanenbaum Fellow in Jewish History and Culture at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. As a folklorist and ethnologist, she studies the nature and significance of vernacular architecture and ritual practice, particularly in contemporary Jewish communities. She is author of Framing Sukkot: Tradition and Transformation in Jewish Vernacular Architecture (Indiana University Press, 2017). Themester 2019 – Remembering and Forgetting, an initiative of the IU College of Arts and Sciences, will sponsor the event, which will be free and open to the public.
Día de los Muertos /Day of the Dead Altar
Tuesday, October 8 through Friday, November 1
Tuesdays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays, 1 to 4:30 p.m.
Visitors are invited to add gifts to a community altar in honor of those who have passed, as it is customary to leave small offerings of items they would have enjoyed. The altar nurtures the memory of their lives, and each year it is built upon the foundation of the previous years’ offerings. The event will be free and open to the public.
Growing Old in Brown County: A Place to Remember and Place to Forget
Tuesday, October 8; 2:30 to 3:45 p.m.
Brown County, Indiana is known for many things; it is home to a vibrant arts and crafts community, the oldest bluegrass festival in the country, and with its large state park, gift shops, and art galleries it is arguably Indiana’s premier tourist destination. This rural community, however, has another notable distinction-- it is the oldest per capita county in Indiana. The median age in the county is 46 years, compared to the state average of 36 years. Brown County is a NORC, a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community. Come learn about what is like to grow old in this community. Listen to life-long residents as they talk about their memories of this place they call home, as well as well as the voices of newcomers who have chosen to “retire” to the county and start a new life. Themester 2019 – Remembering and Forgetting, an initiative of the IU College of Arts and Sciences, will sponsor the event, which will be free and open to the public.
Bloomington: A History in Houses
Thursday, October 10; 4:30 p.m.
Henry Glassie, College Professor Emeritus at Indiana University, will speak on how a close study of Bloomington houses, linked in comparison with houses from other places, leads to a clear cultural history of our town. Glassie has done fieldwork on five continents and written 20 books on traditions of creation, including architecture. The event will be free and open to the public.
Harold Williams: Memory, Place, and Miniatures
Tuesday, October 22; 2:30 p.m.
Harold Williams grew up in the small town of Wheeling in Gibson County, Indiana. In retirement, he began making wooden miniatures of area churches, barns, and log houses, and in 2013 he built a scale model of Wheeling’s covered bridge. Come to this conversation with the 87-year-old artist, see his creations, and learn about how projects like Harold’s miniatures help him recall the past and share his stories with others. Themester 2019 – Remembering and Forgetting, an initiative of the IU College of Arts and Sciences, will sponsor the event, which will be free and open to the public.
Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead Family Celebration
Sunday, October 27; 2 p.m.
Join the Mathers as we celebrate Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) with crafts including sugar skulls, papel picado, nichos, paper flowers, and more. The event will be free and open to the public, and co-sponsored by La Casa/Latino Cultural Center.
Helen Keisel Remembers: Southern Indiana Accordion Tradition
Tuesday, October 29; 2:30 p.m.
Join us for a concert and conversation with Helen Keisel, an accordion player from Haubstadt, Indiana. From old-time fiddle tunes to German Polkas, Helen plays the music of her childhood. In this program she will play the songs of her youth and share her memories of growing up in a German American community in Southern Indiana. Today, Helen performs around her community nearly 20 times each month, often playing the old tunes at area nursing homes where residents commonly leave their wheelchairs and begin to dance. Themester 2019 – Remembering and Forgetting, an initiative of the IU College of Arts and Sciences, will sponsor the event, which will be free and open to the public.
Día de los Muertos /Day of the Dead Altar Lighting and Reception
Friday, November 1; 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Join us to light the Día de los Muertos Community Altar during a closing ceremony and reception to celebrate and honor the memories of deceased loved ones. The event will be free and open to the public.
First Thursdays Festival (at Fine Arts Plaza)
Thursday, November 7; 4 to 7 p.m.
The Mathers Museum of World Cultures will host a table of activities during the last fall First Thursdays Festivals. The event will be free and open to the public.
Curator's Talk--Sacred Drums, Sacred Trees: Haiti's Changing Climate
Thursday, December 5; 4:30 p.m.
Rebecca Dirksen, Assistant Professor in IU’s Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, will present a discussion on the Haitian drums on display at the Mathers Museum. In a media-rich talk that will incorporate ethnographic reflections on Vodou metaphysics, sacred performance, and the pressures of environmental precariousness on contemporary Haitian society, Dr. Dirksen will demonstrate how these musical instruments--the sacred tanbou--lie at the intersection of humanity, the divine, and the environment. This presentation will honor the memory of master drum maker Charles Charlesine, who passed away in March 2019, and who crafted the specially commissioned instruments in this new collection of the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. This lecture will be free and open to the public.
Family Craft Day: Musical Instruments
Sunday, December 8; 2 p.m.
Ring in the holiday season with music—on instruments you create. Come make diddly bows, shakers, and more during this fun, free, family event.
IU Folklore and Ethnomusicology Undergraduate Research Symposium
Wednesday, December 11; 2:15-5:15 p.m.
The 14th annual undergraduate research symposium for folklore/ethnomusicology will feature esearch presentations by students from F440/Folklore and Materials Culture Studies (taught by Professor Jackson Jackson) and F497/Advanced Seminar (taught by Professor Brandon Barker). The event will be free and open to the public.
Mathers Museumof World Cultures416 N. Indiana Avenue