SHREVEPORT, La. (WVUE) - If you visit a cultural museum in Louisiana, you might expect learn about the state’s rich Cajun, French or Spanish roots. But, a museum in Shreveport goes way beyond those typical expectations, for what can seem like a trip around the world.
The Multicultural Center of the South is a museum that recognizes the fact that the people living in a particular area likely have roots that stretch around the world, according to Janice Gatlin, the museum’s executive director.
“Since Shreveport was becoming such a melting pot with all the little different cultures where everybody could come and learn about their history,” Gatlin said. “We have 16 cultures on display here. We have the Asian cultures. We have the Celtic culture, the Mediterranean and plus the Louisiana cultures.”
You can see artifacts that relate to Cajun and Creole. But in the next room, you can explore Greek gods and lifestyles from the Mediterranean. A stroll through the museum takes you across the continent of Africa.
“We have a mixture from several different countries in here, Kenya, Ethiopia, Cameroon," Gatlin.
You can view Celtic weapons of war, a traditional hut from the Philippines and furnishings from japan with a tatami mat.
“That’s how they slept. That’s what they ate on,” Gatlin said.
And a special, antique bed from China.
“It’s called a two chamber marriage bed. The one we have on display here is 19th century. It’s passed down from the through the family, to the son,” Gatlin said.
Some of the artifacts are purchased. But others are donated from personal collections, and from people who have traveled to other countries.
“Mainly, I look at the educational and the historical aspect of, of the items that they bring in,” Gatlin said.
The idea is that we learn more from things that we can see up close. But Gatlin said there is an even greater benefit.
“You know a lot of prejudice comes from lack of knowledge or not understanding or knowing about people that are around you, that the fear, and you come here and you get to learn. Through some of the programs that we do. And then you actually find out that we’re all not really much that different from each other,” Gatlin said.
And you discover the rich cultures of people that may be your classmates, co-workers or neighbors in this quick trip around the world.
The museum is located in downtown Shreveport and is open Tuesdays through Friday. For more information, visit their website: www.mccsouth.org