Connecting through Diversity

Since 2015, the Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum has worked with area cultural organizations and individuals to Celebrate Peoria: a series of events exploring our region’s diverse communities, and a unique learning experience for all ages.

“It is particularly important to teach respect and acceptance at a young age,” affirms PlayHouse Education Manager Courtney Baxter. “It’s also important for children from minority cultures to see themselves reflected in the city's programs and institutions.”

The monthly events are great opportunities for families to come together to experience different cultural traditions. “We encourage families to make connections between themselves and others,” Baxter notes. “There is discussion about other people’s lifestyles and family bonding, while they work together on art projects. It’s truly a fun time!”

Celebrate Peoria: Diwali takes place on October 29th in collaboration with the Hindu Temple of Central Illinois. Diwali is the five-day Hindu festival of lights held each autumn, celebrating the triumph of good over evil. The event will feature traditional Indian dance and tabla performances, a make-your-own diya (lamp) session, and a rangoli (floor art) demonstration.

On November 5th, Celebrate Peoria: Dia de los Muertos will honor the Mexican-American community and commemorate the “Day of the Dead,” remembering loved ones who have passed. Held in conjunction with Bradley University’s Association of Latin American Students and other community members, activities include story time, printmaking and papel picado banner making. On December 17th, families will learn how Christmas is celebrated across cultures—from Mexican Posadas to German Tannenbäume and more—at Celebrate Peoria: Christmas Around the World.

Celebrate Peoria events take place from noon to 5pm and are free with museum admission. For more information, visit a&s