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Explore History: Objects from Asia

Discover history and culture through objects from Asia! This a corner exhibition curated by faculty members, students, and community members to share their unique culture and heritage.

Display your own cultural heritage or personal experience in this collaborative crowd-sourced exhibition! With contributions from students, faculty, and community members, we explore Asian histories, cultures, and experiences through everyday objects. A piece of crockery might teach us about a region's culinary culture or about a family's (im)migration; a cherished doll or figurine might teach us about international styles of dress or about childhood experience; a mass-produced souvenir might teach us about a shifting economy or a life-changing holiday. * Explore History: Objects from Asia is made possible thanks to the support of the Presidential Mini-Grant for Diversity Initiatives. 

Selected objects are on view both at the Charles B. Wang Center and website.
Please visit the Charles B. Wang Center to see the actual objects!

Object for the Month of February 2016 | Long-Term Installation

Mitsuko's Garden: A Bit of Kyoto in Stony Brook

February exhibit photo

In 1971, Sociology Professor O. Andrew Collver began building a Japanese garden for his wife Mitsuko in their back yard near the SBU campus. By that time, besides the new custom-built house, she had two talented daughters, an MA degree from the University of Michigan, a professional position in the SBU Library and even Japanese groceries from Flushing. It was the American dream come true, but all this was not enough to end her yearning for Japan and the Watanabe family in Kyoto.

Kyoto was where Andy had discovered her working in an antique store in 1953. He offered to write to her from Korea, where he was stationed with the U.S. Army. Thus began a penpals romance that eventually brought the two together at the University of Oregon in 1955. There she became known as Mitsi and began adjusting to life in America.

As the garden gradually took shape over the years, her homesickness subsided. A little bit of home had come to her. Andy still tends the garden although Mitsi’s life ended in April 2013. It is there that he feels closest to her.

Andrew Collver, Emeritus Associate Professor of Sociology