‘Royalty’ visits San Jose museum

During the annual Three Kings Day at the Discovery Museum of San

The Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, 180 Woz Way,
welcomed visiting royalty last weekend. As part of the celebration
of

El Dia de los Tres Reyes Magos,

three young men dressed in royal garb circulated through the
museum’s many rooms for several hours providing photo opportunities
for visitors.
The Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, 180 Woz Way, welcomed visiting royalty last weekend. As part of the celebration of “El Dia de los Tres Reyes Magos,” three young men dressed in royal garb circulated through the museum’s many rooms for several hours providing photo opportunities for visitors.

Autumn Young, marketing manager for the nonprofit organization, explains that the museum often creates opportunities for the community to experience cultural events of the many diverse ethnic groups in Silicon Valley. Most exhibits at the museum are tri-lingual (English, Spanish and Vietnamese), and staff members are available to assist in visitors’ native languages.

Jan. 6 is the Christian holiday known as “Epiphany” (from a Greek word meaning “to reveal”), a time to celebrate the revelation of Jesus of Nazareth as savior to the “Gentiles” (non-Jewish people). Since the fourth century, Christians of the Western tradition have used this time to focus on an event that occurred 12 days after the birth of Jesus. (Christians of the Eastern tradition associate another event in the life of Jesus with Epiphany).

The Gospel of Matthew recounts how Magi – or wisemen from the East – followed a mysterious star to Bethlehem, bringing gifts to honor the newborn infant. Later a tradition grew that the visitors were kings, given the names Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar.

Last week’s celebration of the Three Kings was the museum’s 12th. Besides meeting the kings, visitors had several special opportunities to embrace the Epiphany theme:

– Taste “Rosca de Reyes,” a cake covered with dried fruits and often containing a crown or other symbol within one lucky slice

– Learn Papel Picado, a craft that features cutting colored paper into different shapes

– Make a crown from beads, string, cardboard, feathers, glitter and metallic paper

– Create a cornhusk doll or a puppet to resemble a king

– Paint a star representing the one the kings followed

– A stage was set up in the entry hall, and throughout both days performers such as Ballet Folklorico Valenzuela, Estudiantina River Glen Youth Orchestra, Luther Burbank Elementary School Mariachi and Mariachi Azteca entertained the audience.

Since 1990, the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose has enriched the learning lives of some five million children, families and educators with 150 interactive exhibits in the arts, sciences and humanities. The museum’s goal is to develop “creative thinking and problem-solving skills, qualities of mind well-prepared to meet tomorrow’s challenges.”

Besides special traveling exhibits (like “Children of Hangzhow: Connecting with China,” which closes Jan. 25), there are many intriguing interactive permanent exhibitions:

– Bubbalogna: explore the principles and properties of soap bubbles

– Current Connections: shows how electricity is generated, distributed and used

– Post Office: demonstrates how mail is handled

– Secrets of Circles: shows the math, science and beauty of circles

– Waterways: experience the gushes, rushes and flows of water

– Art Loft: full of materials to create and explore visual art

– The Wonder Cabinet: allows infants and toddlers to climb, creep and explore movement.

Opening Feb. 6 is a new traveling exhibit, “Living in Space.” Young guests will engage in the activities of astronauts in a simulated space environment.

Another special event hosted by the museum is “Lunada Familiar” (Family Lunada) Feb. 27. Several times a year the public is invited to this free evening of art, music, theater and dance under the full moon. The evening will include an “open mic” opportunity as well as the chance to participate in a special children’s art activity, plus time to explore the museum’s exhibits.

For more information about the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, call (408) 298-5437 or visit www.cdm.org.

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