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Once Upon a Time: Exploring the World of Fairy Tales at Upcountry History Museum

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Long before books were made, people told stories. They told them to one another and to the children as they sat before the fire. Many of these stories were about interesting people, but most of them were about the ways of fairies and giants.

Children and adults will step inside beloved stories from around the world when the Upcountry History Museum presents Once Upon A Time: Exploring the World of Fairy Tales. The exhibition runs through September 9th.

The bilingual exhibition (English and Spanish) is a unique and educational experience that emphasizes the importance of reading and the significance of fairy tales throughout history. From an African jungle to a giant’s castle, visitors explore larger-than-life pages of seven of the world’s most famous fairy tales: Anansi and the Talking Melon (Ghana), Beauty and the Beast (France), Jack and the Beanstalk (England), Cinderella (France, China), Thumbelina (Denmark), The Elves and the Shoemaker (Germany), and Lon Po Po (aka: Little Red Riding Hood, China).

Entering the exhibit via a magical portal, visitors will be surrounded by an enchanting storybook kingdom. Each tale is brought to life through its own large-scale environment, interactive components, and costumes.

Immersed in literature and story-telling, guests are encouraged to discover the meaning and history of tales they’ve known all their lives, as well as ones that may be new to them. Whether they crawl through the mole’s 8-foot tunnel like Thumbelina, ride in the pumpkin coach like Cinderella, or climb a magical beanstalk like Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, children will discover the underlying meaning of each story and experience the story’s plot in the shoes of their favorite characters.

The project’s primary goals are: to awaken the power of imagination and creative thinking in children, to satisfy the play-spirit of childhood, to encourage reading aloud to children, to encourage a love of reading in children, to impart historical information, to encourage multi-generation storytelling, and to explore cultural diversity.

With seven storybook settings designed for children ages 3-10 years old and their caregivers, Once Upon A Time will take traditional story time to a new interactive level. The result is a three-dimensional, fully developed world that resonates with young visitors, while still appealing to the grown-ups in their lives who are just as fond of the beloved stories that were a major part of their own childhood.

Please visit www.upcountryhistory.org for additional information.

(Image: An illustration by Warwick Goble for “Beauty and the Beast,” 1913.)