Creating 10,000 Turtles

With a few folds of colored paper, supporters of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens will find out that it is not that hard at all to make an origami turtle, while at the same time supporting the museum’s children’s programs.

This Saturday, the Morikami will kick-off its new “10,000 Turtles” initiative with a taiko drumming performance by Fushu Daiko as part of Asian Heritage Night at Roger Dean Stadium. For a suggestion donation of $1, a family can purchase the materials and instructions for creating an origami turtle.

Kids will be invited to fold 10,000 origami turtles – a symbol of longevity in Japanese culture – for a special art display in the Morikami Museum.   The money raised will help keep the Morikami’s children’s programs going.

Visitors will be able to make their turtle at the Morikami all summer long or purchase and download the materials via the website (, and mail in the $1 donation and origami animal. The program will continue through September 30, 2010.

“Thanks to the support of lead sponsor Charles James Real Estate, we will be taking this hands-on, kid-focused campaign to the campers and visiting families who love the Morikami,” said Amy Hever, director of advancement.  “During the summer, the campers who participate in MORY (More Opportunities to Reach Youth) will also have an opportunity to make their turtle.”

“In essence, we are creating a way for kids to enjoy all that the Morikami has to offer them.”

The “10,000 Turtles” project will be in the lobby of the Morikami through September 30. Let’s get ready to fold!

At Long Last, A Child’s View Becomes Reality

The ribbon is cut, and now the people arrive!

“Japan Through the Eyes of a Child,” the Morikami’s new permanent exhibit in its Yamato-kan, will welcome audiences this Saturday.  On Nov. 7, children under 17 are free.

When I walked the new exhibit at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, it definitely made me want to visit Japan. I’ve never been to the country, but looking at the maps of its trains and walking through a miniature marketplace made me realize it’s now another stop on my “Bucket List,” so to speak.

Part of the appeal is that there is enough western culture and modernity incorporated into Japan to make a westerner feel familiar, but enough history and tradition to let you know this isn’t Kansas or Chicago or L.A.

One of the coolest parts is peering out the doors and windows of the Yamato-kan from the “living room” and “kitchen” and seeing the Japanese gardens of the Roji-en outside. Almost makes you feel like you’re really there!

Although I wonder if it’s this warm and humid in November in Toyko?

The Sun-Sentinel reviewed “Japan Through the Eyes of a Child” today; take a read by clicking here.

A Japanese home at The Morikami's Japan Through the Eyes of a Child exhibit.

Take off your slippers when you visit the home at "Japan Through the Eyes of a Child."

A Japanese marketplace reimaged in "Japan Through the Eyes of Child"

A Japanese marketplace re-imagined in "Japan Through the Eyes of Child."

A Japanese classroom as seen through the eyes of a child at The Morikami.

Japanese classroom at JTEC at the Morikami.

Looking Forward at “Japan Through the Eyes of a Child”

For years, the Yamato-kan was the little Japanese house where you put on paper slippers and learned about early Florida and how Japanese settlers ended up there.

But yesterday, the Yamato-kan officially became more about today than yesterday. The ribbon-cutting ceremony unveiled a new permanent exhibit called “Japan Through the Eyes of a Child,” which invites you to step into a 3-D world as seen by a younger generation.

It’s a classroom, a living room, a shopping area and a train platform, all in great detail and accuracy, so you feel like you’re there – a child in modern-day Japan. You don’t have to be in elementary school to appreciate a day of make-believe. Although a “test” class of chorus singers from Morikami Park Elementary gave it a thumbs-up yesterday, after performing as part of the festivities.

More about this new, interactive exhibit in the next blog… Grand opening for the public is Nov. 7! All kids 17 and under are free! Learn more at

Larry Rosensweig and Cheiko Mihori

Former museum director Larry Rosensweig with Morikami trustee Cheiko Mihori

Larry Rosensweig Bonnie LeMay Beverlee Kohnken

Larry Rosensweig, Bonnie LeMay and Beverlee Kohnken walk through the classroom

Morikami Park meistersingers

Morikami Park Elementary singers entertain the ribbon-cutting audience

Rebecca Feldman and Brianna Plasky

Rebecca Feldman and Brianna Plasky, singers from Morikami Park Elementary

Wendy Lo with kanji chart

Wendy Lo, education coordinator at Morikami, with kanji chart in Japanese classroom

Japanese kitchen

JTEC's Japanese kitchen is modern with cultural touches