Freeman Foundation Asian Culture Exhibit Series

Freeman Foundation Asian Culture Exhibit Series logo

Exploring and understanding Asian cultures and histories is important.

Over the past twenty years, the Freeman Foundation has majorly invested in developing a greater appreciation of Asian cultures and histories in the United States, in partnership with ACM.

Through the Freeman Foundation Asian Culture Exhibit Series (FFACES), children’s museums across the country have made Asian culture accessible through play-based learning.

Introduced as a traveling exhibit model, FFACES has been effective, with a total of twelve impactful exhibits created for two national tours. Each tour reached 3.4 million people—or 6.8 million visitors—total.

These two national tours reached communities throughout the United States, but were particularly successful in reaching major urban areas or their suburbs, with a few notable exceptions. Many communities with a children’s museum have not yet benefitted from hosting a Freeman exhibit. In thinking on how to best reach smaller urban and rural museums, ACM also wanted to factor in that children’s museums, especially smaller museums, report a preference for permanent exhibits, which can encourage visitors’ deep and ongoing relationship with the content, or can be used in more flexible programming spaces.

This new round of the FFACES features modular exhibits about East Asian cultures for museums, which can be used in galleries and in outreach events. These new exhibits have a smaller footprint (500–1,000 square feet), and museums can rearrange them to fit in smaller or larger spaces. Museums are also strongly encouraged to share these exhibits with community and regional partners, such as libraries, community centers, or schools. By remaining at the museum and in the community, the modular exhibit’s content becomes a part of children’s long-term memories, and can create a deeper experience than the temporary attraction of a traveling exhibit.

Current FFACES Exhibits

Home is designed to bring children and families together to examine the insides and outsides of Chinese, Japanese, and Hmong homes. With a focus on cooking and food, gardening, and/or play in each culture, children can pretend to water and grow plants on a Beijing balcony garden, cross over a koi pond, create origami, design a story cloth, or BBQ for a Hmong festival in this immersive display of three unique Asian homes.

Home Host Museums

Discovery Museum

Kids Discovery Museum

Montshire Museum of Science  

Santa Fe Children’s Museum

Play is designed for children and families to explore different types of play—role-play, narrative, symbolic, and constructive—around aspects of Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean cultures. Anchoring the exhibit are immersive activities children can engage with, including feeding pandas at a preserve, attending a cherry blossom picnic, or “diving” to explore an under-the-sea area inspired by the story of the Jeju mermaids. There is an element of play that can inspire any child while simultaneously educating them on the richness and diversity of Asian cultures.

Play Host Museums

Ann Arbor Hands On Museum   

KidsPlay Children’s Museum      

Sacramento Children’s Museum

T.R.E.E. House Children’s Museum          

Westchester Children’s Museum             

Wonder Universe

Music, a modular exhibit of FFACES, is designed to encourage children to move and perform with a focus on percussion in Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean (including K-pop!) cultures. Children can explore an array of instruments, from a daitokuiji—Japanese singing bowls—to a large traditional Korean buk drum. Children will be inspired to learn the rhythms of these cultures, or to improvise on their own.

Music Host Museums

Adventure! Children’s Museum

Amelia Park Children’s Museum

Building for Kids Children’s Museum      

Children’s Museum of Richmond            
Fredda Turner Durham Children’s Museum

Celebrations is designed to bring children and families together to explore New Year celebrations in South Korea, China, and Vietnam through the imagery of fireworks, lanterns, lotuses, and kites. Children can participate in activities such as drumming and storytelling. From telling the Nian Monster story in a small theater to discovering different dishes served for breakfast as an eye spy game, children will be captivated by the rich history, beauty, and fun of these Asian New Year festivals.

Celebrations Host Museums

Children’s Museum of Rochester, SPARK

Children’s Museum of South Dakota

Discovery Center of the Southern Tier

Mississippi Children’s Museum

Interested in Hosting a FFACES Modular Exhibit?

ACM members are welcome to request the exhibit plans and related resources and marketing materials, free of charge.

Get started by submitting an exhibit application request.

Questions may be directed to Brendan Cartwright at