Minnesota Children’s Museum And The Center for Hmong Arts & Talent Team Up On A New Experience: Games In The Landing

By Courtney Finn


Minnesota Children’s Museum recently unveiled a new experience that features a variety of games for visitors to play – giant games, board games, an interactive dancing game and more. The museum developed this experience in collaboration with the Center for Hmong Arts & Talent (CHAT), which provided content ideas, visual design elements and overall input and consultation.

The Games

This new, immersive experience provides a place for families to have fun together, collaborate and spark children’s learning though play. Games and activities include:

  • Giant 3-D Twister
  • Oversized Connect Four in a Row
  • Jumbo Battle Boats
  • Interactive Dancing Game
  • Word Search games
  • Various Board Games

“We are thrilled have had the opportunity to work with CHAT on this engaging new experience,” said Mary Weiland, senior exhibit developer at Minnesota Children’s Museum. “Together, we’ve developed a beautiful space and an experience that empowers kids to build confidence as they solve problems and persist through challenges.”

Young CHAT Members Made Big Contributions

Three young CHAT members – Yeng Kong Lee, Peter Xiong, Dunmatti Xiong – were key contributors in the development of this experience. During development discussions, these young artists suggested the museum include a dueling dance game, and the museum’s exhibit team put the idea into action, creating a dance game that serves as the marquee activity in the space and the first of its kind in the museum.

CHAT intern Lee Yang also played a major role in the creation of this experience. He created concepts and designs for large window treatments and canopies for this experience, which feature colors and patterns traditionally found in Hmong textiles.

“We were all excited to be a part of the planning process,” said Steve Thao, executive director of CHAT. “My generation grew up in refugee camps without books or video games and we had to entertain ourselves with rocks, sticks and any games we could imagine. Games offer an escape and let young minds and bodies grow. We are definitely very proud of CHAT’s contribution to the exhibit.”

Open Through Mid-April

This dynamic museum experience opened in November. Steve and the CHAT members involved in the planning process spent time in the exhibit shortly after it opened. They played the various games and took in the environment and experience they helped create.

“It is so much more than I had imagined,” said Steve during the visit. “It’s a great homage to Hmong culture. I think it’s my favorite exhibit.”

This isn’t the first time the museum and CHAT have collaborated. The two entities recently worked together to create a colorful awning that shades the museum’s Tip Top Terrace exhibit. About 10 years ago, they collaborated to develop a 500-square-foot addition to Hmong at Heart, a traveling exhibit the museum was hosting.

The Games experience will be open through mid-April.