Worldwide Wonders

Want to see the world? Less keen on the transport and visa planning? England is full of diverse cultures, so join us on a (virtual) world tour as we travel across continents to see the variety of cultural heritage on offer over Heritage Open Days. Spanning the globe from Japan to Poland and many other places in between - passports not required!

A large gallery with red brick walls and a domed wooden roof. A long, thin wooden boat is foregrounded and various Indian objects are on display© The South Asia Collection - A Victorian skating rink may not be the obvious choice for a collection of South Asian objects - but it works!

Starting our journey in India...

...join curator Mansi Rao at The South Asia Collection (Norfolk)

The South Asia Collection is a small, beautiful museum located in an old Victorian roller skating rink in the centre of Norwich. Opening in the 1970s, the collection has since grown into international significance and undertakes various research projects in the UK and India in order to record, preserve and promote South Asian art and culture. To celebrate this year’s festival, the Collection will be hosting an exhibition talk and tour by curator Mansi Rao on one of their recent projects - Vernacular Furniture of North West India. Discover the hidden histories of these everyday objects which, while already fascinating as individual pieces, can come together to represent the collective identity of one of the hundreds of communities across India. Beyond the talk, the building will be open all day for you to explore the exhibitions and permanent displays and to have a chat with the curatorial team about the objects, building and current research projects.

A woodblock print depicting a snowy scene. An unstable, wooden bridge is over a blue lake with three people crossing, one on horseback. There is a mountain in the distance and tree and house in the foreground

Hokusai's Old View of the Pontoon Bridge at Sano in Kōzuke Province / © Hove Museum of Creativity

Follow the path of the Godai eastwards...

...with Fiona Story at the Hove Museum of Creativity (East Sussex)

Take this opportunity to see some rarely displayed 19th century Japanese woodblock prints and go on a guided tour through the world of the Godai (五大) at Hove Museum of Creativity. The Godai are the five elements: earth (地), water (水), fire (火), wind (風) and void (空) which originated from the Indian Buddhist concept of Mahābhūta and later became absorbed into Japanese culture and indigenous folk religion, defining not only the physical aspects of existence but also the emotional nature of human beings and responses to confrontation within martial arts such as ninjutsu (忍術). Creative programmer Fiona Story has used these groupings as the basis for a free tour of the fantastic Godai: Japanese Woodcuts temporary exhibition, including works by 19th century masters such as Hokusai, Kunisada, Eizan and Hiroshige. Join this tour to gain a greater understanding of these meticulously crafted masterpieces and the philosophy behind them.

A white man with a large black beard dressed in beaded purple robes with a white, pointed, beaded hat. He appears to be riding a white wooden horse with a white plumage, draped in red, beaded robes.

Learn about the origins of the Polish Lajkonik, an unofficial yet stylish symbol of Kraków / © Wikimedia Commons

Moving to Europe... the folk traditions of Poland at the Piłsudski Institute (London)

The Piłsudski Institute of London will be opening its doors for visitors of all ages to take part in an Open Day filled with craft activities, dances and talks! Beginning as the Institute for Research into Modern Polish History in Warsaw in 1923, the site in London was founded in 1947 to continue the work of the Institute after the Second World War. One of the primary aims of the Institute is to promote knowledge and public understanding of Polish history and heritage, and this year’s festival is the perfect opportunity to get involved. Throughout the day, you can learn about Polish history, folk traditions and folklore, including the story of the Lajkonik of Kraków, hear a talk from Lidia Letkiewicz on Polish folk tradition and national dances, and watch a performance by the Polish folk dance ensemble Karolinka.

Aerial view of landscaped gardens

A birds eye view of the specially landscaped gardens you can stroll in at the American Museum / © Peter Hall

To complete our trip...

...settle down stateside at the American Museum and Gardens (Somerset)

For a taste of America, spend the day at Claverton Manor’s Grade II listed gardens and galleries set within 125 acres overlooking the Cotswolds AONB. Take a stroll through the arboretum, learn about the seasonal gardens designed in the New American Gardens style, or let the kids loose in the designated Children’s Garden. Alongside the outdoors, there is also plenty to explore in the Grade I listed Manor House. The permanent collection includes folk art, quilts and textiles and cartography covering over 2000 years of history of the land now known as the United States of America. Don’t miss out on the temporary exhibition Brick America: An Adventure in LEGO® where you can get up close with iconic buildings, cityscapes and iconography handcrafted in LEGO by artist Warren Elsmore and his team.

PLEASE NOTE - These events were accurate at the time of publication but details are subject to change. Check the individual entries for details.

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