small scene of a wooden bear pulling a wooden bell on a wooden tree

Wooden Treasures: Instruments and Toys of the Caucasus Region

On July 25, 2021 from 2:00–4:00 pm, the Spurlock Museum joins with the UIUC Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Center (REEEC) (external link) for a celebration of wooden toys and musical instruments. This free, family-friendly program will include a hands-on artifacts area, short informational talks about the items on display, and storytelling sessions. Special giveaway bags will be given to the first 25 families who attend.

Among the items in the touchables area will be examples of hand-carved toys with parts that move. One of the most popular figures on these toys are bears, a favorite in Russian fairy tales. The toys are most often associated with the village of Bogorodskoye, near Moscow, where whole families are involved with the carving and assembling of these delightful playthings.

Sets of matryoshka, or nesting dolls, will also be found in the touchables area, for visiting children never seem to tire of opening the dolls to see how many are in each set and if they can put the dolls back together in the right order. Though often thought of as an older, traditional, Russian toy, nesting dolls were invented in 1892.

Family members will also be able to see and hear three traditional musical instruments: the duduk (a reed instrument), the panduri (a stringed instrument), and the doli (a percussion instrument). Short informational talks on the instruments and toys will be given at 2:30 pm (toys) and 3:10 pm (instruments) by REEEC representative Danielle Sekel.

Russian stories will be presented by Kim Sheahan Sanford, the Spurlock’s resident storyteller at 2:10, 2:50, and 3:30 PM. All the talks and storytelling will take place in the Museum’s new second floor Collaboration and Community Gallery.

Hand sanitizer will be available at all touch stations. We strongly encourage its use.

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Contact

For further information on this event, contact Katya Reno at or (217) 244-8483

To request disability-related accommodations for this event, please contact Brian Cudiamat at or (217) 244-5586.