The Magic House takes visitors on trips to India

The Magic House takes visitors on trips to India

Carrie Hutchcraft

ST LOUIS: The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum’s newest cultural exhibit, Namaste India, opens to the public on Tuesday, May 25.2021

From Bollywood to the Taj Mahal, and from riding a Tuktuk to enjoying the unique scents of popular Indian spices, visitors at the Magic House will soon have the opportunity to experience the wonders of India, a country rich in colorful traditions with a focus on the future.

While encouraging global awareness and cultural appreciation, the Magic House’s exhibit features the vibrant art, food and traditions of the timeless Indian culture. With the goal to inspire visitors to compare the similarities and differences between their lives and those of children in the country of India, Namaste India will feature a variety of immersive environments including a dhaba (restaurant), marketplace, tuktuk (or motorized rickshaw), home and school as well as iconic spaces like the Taj Mahal and Bollywood.

To provide authenticity and cultural accuracy, Namaste India was created in partnership with the St. Louis Indian community. The Magic House formed the Namaste India advisory committee, made up of 32 professionals from around the St. Louis area, all of Indian heritage. Formed with input from the St. Louis Mosaic Project, the committee played a critical role in the exhibit creation process.

Namaste India will join The Magic House’s nationally traveling cultural exhibit series currently featuring Children’s China, Kenya’s Kids and Argentina’s Niños. The cultural series is designed to help children and families build an interest and empathy for the diverse cultures from around the world. “We are thrilled to open our newest cultural exhibit featuring what life is like for children in India today,” said Beth Fitzgerald, President of The Magic House.  “We look forward to introducing families to India’s vibrant cultural traditions.” 

namaste India_logoNamaste India is made possible thanks to generous donors, including lead gifts from the Asian American Chamber of Commerce, Bal Vihar of St. Louis, Bayer Fund, CEdge, Daugherty Business Solutions, Mastercard, Tim and Elizabeth Swank and Linda and Jesse Hunter as well as additional generous individual donors. The exhibit is scheduled to open to the public on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 and will remain at The Magic House through April 2022 before beginning a national tour of children’s museums. Namaste India is included with admission to the Museum.

Featured Namaste India Experiences:

Bollywood: Walk a red carpet and pose for a glamorous photo-op dressed in colorful sarees and other traditional clothing. Visitors can watch clips from famous Bollywood movies and learn more about the biggest film industry in the World.

TukTuk: Guests will take a simulated ride in a three-wheeled tuktuk, a motorized rickshaw found throughout India. Families can pay for their ride using QR code payment technology, just like they do in India.

Cricket: Visitors will learn about the popular game of cricket, the second most popular sport in India and the World. Children can don the jerseys from India’s national team and practice “bowling” or throwing a ball at a wicket target.

School: Families will learn about a traditional school day for children in India. Students will study the geography and diversity of India as well as learn Hindi words and numbers. Children will create their own Republic of India flag and a tiger mask, the national animal of India.

Family Home: Visitors will explore a traditional home featuring an entrance decorated with a rangoli and filled with other traditional Indian art forms. Children can pack a lunch for school in a tiffin box, a unique metal stackable lunch box used throughout India  Children can harvest vegetables and practice yoga in the home’s backyard

Marketplace: At the Spice Market, children will test their senses by smelling popular spices like turmeric, cumin and cloves. At the Sweet Shop, families can arrange a mithai box, a display of traditional Indian sweets. At the Fabric Market, visitors will try their hand at block printing, a traditional Indian art form still practiced today. At the Street Food Cart, children can use QR code technology to purchase a healthy treat.

Dhaba: At this roadside restaurant, families will prepare roti, a traditional flatbread cooked in a clay tandoor over. Children will serve tandoori chicken and other traditional dishes to guests at a unique table.

The Magic House a not-for-profit participatory museum that provides hands-on learning experiences that spark imagination and develop problem-solving, is serving more than 550,000 visitors annually, The Magic House opened in 1979 and has 55,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits in 2019.  For additional information, please call or text 314.822.8900 or visit The Magic House online at

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