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Intellect

Step Into Culture: Museum of Peoples and Cultures Opens New Exhibit on Ancient Footwear

Shoes give us traction, help us go faster, keep us going longer and add a splash of style to our walk.

The BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures' newest exhibit titled "Steps in Style," opening Oct. 17, displays a collection of shoes from around the globe and from various time periods. Additionally, the exhibition will include an interactive portion for young visitors.

Highlights in the collection include: bone skates, moccasins from various Native American nations, wooden clogs, intricately beaded slippers and Caribou boots. One of the more unique items in the collection is a pair of Samoan sandals with straps made of tapa cloth, soles made of woven coconut leaves and coconut seeds used for decoration.

Jaquelyn Johnson, a doctoral student studying instructional psychology and technology, spearheaded the curation, design and installation of this exhibition.

“Shoes are something all cultures have in common. Having this point of connection helps us relate to each other,” said Johnson.

The shoes displayed in the exhibit reflect the personalities and needs of people across the world. For example, the intricate beading on Native American moccasins can provide insight to the corresponding culture. 

“The moccasins show how much time and effort went into creating such a unique shoe," said Johnson. "Today, we go to the store without putting nearly any time or thought into the purchase.”

The Museum of Peoples and Cultures invites all ages to explore this unique exhibition – you may never look at your own shoes the same way again! 

The museum is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission is free. 

Writer: Lacy Schmoekel

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