The Hall of World Cultures artifacts offer a view of traditional cultures from all over the world, including Asia, Africa and the Americas. Through an assortment of artifacts originating from different cultures, the exhibit shows the variety and diversity of cultural patterns present throughout societies around the world. The exhibit includes themes of social, economic, political, religious and technological innovations. The artifacts on display range from traditional ritual objects to handmade tools used for survival.
The Hall of World Cultures has a series of display cases comparing similar objects from different cultures or times periods. Diverse: masks from Mexico, Bali, United States, and Hong Kong. Symbolic: marriage traditions as represented by a quilt, wedding rings, cake toppers, wedding vest from Montenegro. Adaptive:teapots from China reflect various materials and resources available regionally and over time. They are made of crystal, clay, copper, porcelain and jade. Dynamic: clocks, which include a pendulum, electric, and an image of a sundial. Culture through objects consists of dolls from Uganda, the United States, Native American, and England.
Artifacts and objects on display are grouped by world region.
- Latin America: religious symbols from pre-Hispanic Amerindian religions, Catholicism and African retentions. Objects: Venezuelan mask, bell used for rituals.
- Mexico and Amerindian people: textiles, piñatas, new world foods derived from crops cultivated from these regions.
- Aztec: one of the last great civilizations to exist on the mid-American continent prior to European arrival. Object: Diorama of Tenochtitlan (capital city of Aztec empire)
- Egypt: Tombs and religious artifacts associated with the afterlife. Objects: mummified hawk, flint tools, and Shabti figurines placed in tombs to benefit the deceased.
- India: Traditional objects used to sustain life in small villages spanning the country. Oil lamp, frying pan, and hand-played drum.
- Lakota (American plains): Objects illustrating influences from the exchange of material items with other culture groups. Objects: beaded moccasins, bows and arrows, traditional woman’s dress.
- Eskimo: Technological inventions produced to sustain life in the environment of this region. Objects: Waterproof parka made of seal intestine, harpoon and tools used for hunting.