Exploratorium at Woodruff Library brings Chinese culture to life

By Maureen McGavin | Emory Report | May 7, 2012

Story image

Several Chinese professors at Emory have used the Chinese Culture Exploratorium as part of their course curricula.

The Chinese Culture Exploratorium (CCE) is open on the first floor of the Woodruff Library.

Funded by a grant from the Confucius Institute in Atlanta and supporting Emory's international reputation as a diverse and inquiry-driven community, the exhibit uses multimedia to enhance learning and promote understanding of Chinese culture.

"This is a great addition to the Chinese collections in our library, and in a different format," says Guo-Hua Wang, East Asian studies librarian and coordinator of the CCE.

Four stations with 10 interactive modules covering a range of topics provide information on traditional Chinese delicacies, language and art forms. Visitors can view timelines detailing important events in Chinese history or take a virtual tour of various provinces in China.  

The exhibit is continually evolving and is expected to feature new modules in the near future, such as one on Chinese medicine. One upcoming feature will allow visitors to use the exhibit's webcam to see how they would look in traditional opera costumes. Headphones can be checked out at the service desk in the Music and Media Library.  

"The CCE will provide both physical and virtual space for Emory students to explore Chinese culture, history, literature, and other aspects in a new media format," says Xuemao Wang, associate director of the Emory Libraries. "I also hope the CCE will function as an experimental lab and incubator to bring faculty together to enhance their China-related teaching and research."  

Several Chinese professors at Emory have used the CCE as part of their course curricula. Wan-Li Ho, an East Asian language professor who brought her Intermediate Chinese II class to the CCE, believes that it is an extremely valuable addition to the library.  

"The trip to the exploratorium offers 'a whole package deal' of language learning activities—listening, speaking, reading and writing—which is truly wonderful," says Ho.  

"The average student will also benefit from checking out the different modules, because the exploratorium is located on the first floor where students have little breaks from their studies. I think it also adds interest to the library and attracts potential students and their parents," says Rong Cai, associate professor of Chinese studies at Emory and director of the Confucius Institute in Atlanta.  

A smaller workstation that supports the same software as the CCE is located in the Modern Languages Building.  

Professors wanting to bring a class to the CCE should contact Guo-Hua Wang, coordinator of the CCE, at gwang@emory.edu or 404-727-0411 to arrange a date and time.