Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A look at the new museum at Heifer International

Heifer International's new museum showcases the work it does for those in poverty around the world. The museum at Heifer's headquarters in Little Rock Arkansas, attempts to show solutions at solving poverty instead of just showing the problems.

From The News Leader of Springfield Missouri, Associated Press writer Chuck Bartels visited the museum.

The museum, called Heifer Village, opened in June and will add an important element to Heifer educational programs, which demonstrate the charity's mission to provide animals and training so the world's poor can have sustainable nutrition.

Narrative elements run through the museum's exhibits, showing the effects that fair trade, clean water or mosquito netting can have. Under a ceiling of rich, amber-stained wood, natural light falls on the exhibits as the building itself demonstrates sustainability strategies.

In a section focusing on education, a visitor can sit at a desk equipped with a touch-screen computer to go through a variety of scenarios. The visitor picks from four children who live in different parts of the world, each of them poor. Going from screen to screen, the user makes choices that the child might have to make, for instance, about whether to ask for more food or to see a doctor.

There are no right or wrong answers, but the user learns more about the situations faced by poor families and how one decision leads to making another.

"Each scenario would lead you on a different path," Heifer Village operations manager Kent Modlin said.

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