In my college years, I remember hearing a piece of dating advice that you can tell a lot about a man within a couple seconds of meeting him by simply looking at his foot wear, most importantly (at least to the advisee) was how much money he has.
To me that seemed a little too shallow and not very scientific, but there is an element of truth to it.
See for yourself at Spurlock Museum, winner of Best Museum in the 2012 Chambanamoms Reader’s Choice Awards in their newest exhibit. “A World of Shoes” is brought to you by the letter “S:” Self, Style, Sensuality, Substance, Service, Soul and Sports. Through these seven displays, I came to realize just how much you could learn about a person and a people by examining their soles. Let’s not forget their animals too. My son’s favorite was a bog shoe for horses so they don’t “get stuck in the muck.”
Kids are guaranteed to get a kick out of these kicks. In addition to the beautiful and sometimes funny shoes (floor cleaning shoes with brushes on the bottom, you know I’m talking about you) from across the ages and across the globe, there are numerous ways to interact with the exhibit. They can pick up an activity sheet at the front desk to complete a scavenger hunt of shoes, or fill out the survey question of how many pairs of shoes they own, and there is even a notebook for them to share their own shoe story.
Homeschoolers and those with children free on Wednesday mornings should definitely go to Around the World Wednesdays offered from 9 a.m. to noon for the rest of October. The staff are extremely knowledgeable, engaging, and fun, leading children to creatively explore diverse cultures through arts and crafts. It’s not just meaningless junky crafts that immediately go in the garbage either, but ones that the kids will continue to play with when they get home. My almost two-year-old was happily glueing for a half hour, but I could also see myself as a young teenager just as easily getting enthralled in the details of my creation. There is a $2 suggested donation per participant, and don’t forget your coins for the meter. Put in an extra quarter for good measure. You won’t regret it.
What: “A World of Shoes”
When: From now until Feb. 10, 2013 (check for museum hours; closed Mondays)
How Much: Free (bring change for the parking meters); Suggested donation, $3.
Where: Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., Urbana (click for directions/map)
Celina Trujillo has lived in Urbana since 1998, when she started attending the University of Illinois. Three degrees and one job later, she recently decided to put it all on hold to start homeschooling and homemaking full-time. Her blog, Squawks of a Mama Bird, records the learning process of this unexpected new adventure for her family.