CMOM's “America to Zanzibar” Introduces School-Aged Children to Aspects of Muslim Cultures

In 2016, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan hired Roto to complete the design and build of their latest 3,500 square foot exhibit focused on Muslim cultures. Using real-world content and stories as the vehicle, the museum aimed to familiarize school-aged children with the arts, fare, daily customs, and professions of numerous Muslim cultures around the world. Roto’s skilled project and design team put flesh and bone to this content, with an eye for authenticity appearance and accessibility for a young audience. The final product exhibits bright fields of color, architectural elements and highlights of complex patterning reminiscent of some of the featured cultures.

The center courtyard features a fountain adorned with a backdrop of intricate latticework. Surrounding activities include a musical experience blending the sounds of a variety of instruments from the Middle East, a large dhow (boat) encouraging pretend play as children can fish off its bow, explore ancient trade routes, or hoist items to the above deck using a conveyor belt. A long row of colorful stalls create a suk (market), each representing a different product and country from Muslim culture. Children can try on vibrant fabrics at the Senegalese Tailor Shop, smell spices from Egypt, feel the coarse fibers of Moroccan rugs, and see the unique fruits from Indonesia along the stalls of this suk. 

"America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far" recently received some well-deserved praise from New York Times. Check out the article here.

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