A Maria rag doll from the Queretaro region of Mexico is now on display at the Salem Multicultural Institute in downtown Salem. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

The Salem Multicultural Institute opened its Toys and Games Around the World exhibition at the World Beat Gallery on Tuesday, July 1. The exhibit highlights the variety of games enjoyed by children around the world.

The show was curated in collaboration with Gilbert House Children’s Museum.

If you were born before 1975, you’d be transported back to your childhood with displays of old board games. You could see one of A.C. Gilbert Company’s completed erector sets.

One of the popular favorites is the Maria Rag Doll from the Queretaro region of Mexico. Visitors can try Japanese Kendama (a ball on a string and cup), hula hoop, jump rope, or hopscotch. 

Monitors around the gallery feature the art of jump roping, showing videos of children from various parts of the globe participating in Double Dutch jump roping.

Kathleen Fish, institute executive director, is especially excited that the gallery opening coincides with the opening of Oregon and the elimination of pandemic restrictions. People can now comfortably visit the gallery over the summer.

Much of the institute’s work culminates in the World Beat Festival, which was postponed during the pandemic. World Beat will celebrate its 25th anniversary in the summer of 2022.

If you’ve never been to the festival, you are in for a cultural array of food, music, crafts, dance, and interaction with the traditions of over 70 nations.

The current exhibit runs through Sept. 8. They have three shows per year and are open year-round Monday through Friday They give the Salem cultural community a welcoming space to share heritage.

It is located at 390 Liberty St. S.E. in the Pringle Park Plaza. (503-581-2004 or https://www.salemmulticultural.org/ )

Executive Director Kathleen Fish welcomes guests to the gallery at the Salem Multicultural Institute in downtown Salem. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Toys and games from around the world are part of the new show at the Salem Multicultural Institute in downtown Salem. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

A completed erector set from the A.C. Gilbert Company is among the displays at the Salem Multicultural Institute in downtown Salem. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

 Mary Louise VanNatta is a Salem public relations professional writing a regular column for Salem Reporter. Tell her about your upcoming event at [email protected]