Long, long time ago, in a warm midsummer night, mama Xana left her baby Xani sleeping in his beautiful egg shell cradle inside an enchanted cave by the clear waters of a lake. Mama Xana went away to do some washing.

Days went by, months went by, and many Midsummers went by; but Mama Xana did not come to wake up little Xani.

Nobody knows how many Midsummers went by, but the once dry cave was filled with water and became part of the lake, Lake Porma.

Unaware, little Xani kept sound asleep in his cozy little egg shell.

Suddenly, in a Midsummer like this, perhaps in this Midsummer, something shoke up and Xani woke up from his deep, deep sleep.

There was a lot of hubbub somewhere way above the water.

He heard voices, so many voices, so many sounds he had never heard before.

So much noise, so much turmoil, he could not go back to sleep.

Xani started to shuffle around, and his thin egg shell broke so, out and up he swan to the surface of the lake.

Ashore, he saw himself mirrored in the clear waters. “Who are you, beautiful creature,” he asked. He was surprised, he had a voice, he could talk, but the creature in the lake did not answer.

Again, he heard voices and turmoil from a building behind; so he decided to have a look in to the Wildlife Museum. There was a party going on. There were so many beautiful creatures, the one more beautiful than the other. Everyone knew he was coming, everyone was so happy to see Xani.

All the animals spoke at once: “Every midsummer we wake up and have a party to welcome the new members of our family. This midsummer is special; we are so many that we thought we could make enough turmoil to wake you up. And here you are, Xani, you came to celebrate Midsummer with all of us.”

“We need your help, said the animals.”

“You are the only one that can talk and travel through places, through time.”

“Do you see these dioramas? Through there you can go to our home. We need you to go there for us and tell our friends and families not to cry, that we are happy in our new home, although we miss them all. Then they will give you our hearts which were left behind. We need our hearts so we can make this place our home.”

“Home is not only a place we find, home is a place we make, and this is our home now, we just need to get our heats back to make it complete.”

“But I am afraid” Xani whispered.

“Don´t be” roared his new friends.

“You are afraid because you have a heat and you can feel, and it is a beautiful thing to feel. So, now you know, that is why we need you to get our hearts back, to feel as you feel.”

Xani makes many trips through the dioramas. There are, at the moment 25 dioramas.

With every trip his heart; as well as his image becomes more human.

There might be another book series where he meets other lake monsters and dragons while traveling around is pseudo real world.

Book background: diorama. Characters on museum

Xani figure, still to be created and will be scheduled to be presented at Lake Porma and MFS on Midsummer night 2011

MFS and its unanimated stuffed animals get life, soul and heart.

Books: bilingual plus additional text space to freely add a third language or tailored version by parents, teacher, etc.

Present through:

Image / Mascot contest on Xani.

Books, fist presentation of books, followed by series.

Gift shop articles.

On site, museum, storytelling on Xani.

On line educational games.

Possible interactive games by Nintendo WII, XBOX Kinect, or Playstation Move.

TV cartoon series base on books.

Music, although a vast job collecting children´s song around the world.


W5 2011 Presentation of the draft.

W6-10 Final draft of the project.

W11-14 Preparation for presentation. Request of resources.

W15/16 Official presentation of the project at the Museum personnel, Universidad de León, Local and Provincial Government, Press.

W18-20  Contest for Xani image

No prize will be given, since it will include everyone´s ideas, “ourness”.

The image will be, more than likely decided internally, in an earlier stage.

W25 Xanino wakes/emerges from Lake Porma.

W51-W2 2012 Xani starts his trip, fist book on his awakening from the depth of the waters and story on Xana.

Other books will follow. Since the Museum has 25 main sections with the mammals, we may present a minimum of 25 books; provided that the pilot presentation book is successful. One book a years would be ideal, but then the author may not be able to see the last book published. Thus, we could present 2 books per year; one book at Solstice in the Northern hemisphere; and the second book near Christmas coinciding with the Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.

VT 2012. Writing the thesis on the experience.

Even in the most fantastic fairy tale should incorporate some element of veracity; thus, we run a search through the local mythology. A better wording would be search for a mythology locally.

In order to give the identity of “ourness” to MFS, we need an approach through heritage. Heritage comprises both “the material or tangible – natural landscapes and settlements, buildings, monuments and the like of the built environment – and the intangible”  “The mythological background of the story of Xani, may be considered as an intangible heritage. UNESCO defines: “Intangible heritage is ‘interactive, dynamic and cohesive’ and ‘transmitted from generation to generation ‘to provide’ people with a sense of identity and continuity”.  Consequently, MFS and its artifacts will become tangible heritage per se; within the broad scope of belonging locally and to the entire humankind. (Graham B., Howard, P. 2008, p.4)

Thus, the character of Xanino is use to establish a dialogue between MFS and its visitors, as well as followers; guiding them to a broader and positive “world view”.

Our project is supported by two core theories:  intercultural communication within linguistics and educational role of museums.

Linguistics and Intercultural communication

Language is an element of communication. Language is often referred as a tool for communication. A tool may be replaced by another tool, language cannot be replaced not deleted, thus, language is a main element of communication; whether colloquially or linguistically.

Our challenge lies on how the once alive but now inanimate stuffed animals may communicate with “our” language; moreover, some universal language.

Young children mingling with different L1 seems to have no important issues communicating. Moreover, they seem to enjoy their heterogeneity. Their preservation instincts focus their attention to homogeneity and learning, crucial for their development.

Reinforcing our theory, Lustig & Koester define communication as “a symbolic, interpretive, transactional, contextual process in which people create shared meaning”; and “Communication as a process, and always-changing flow of interpretations.” (2009, p.21-23)

MFS´s collections cover all five continents, giving us way to address present issues of multiculturalism and integration. Although the fairy tale of Xanino is based on a local mythology, we should point out that boundaries are mankind delimitations. Culture variations may be describes as dialect continuum in linguistics. It is not easy to define natural boundaries. Thus, if we use mythology as a tool to transmit information, we reach and cross boundaries minimizing ethnical conflicts. León, Asturias, Galicia and its surrounding area has a deep Celtic (Celtiberian) and Roman roots; with great parallelisms to the Celt culture in the British Isles.  To name some examples, the tale of “changelings” has inspired writers in British literature as: William Shakespeare in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Lord Tennyson, “Idylls of the King”, or W. B. Yeats in “The Stolen Child”: In his book “Witches and their World”. The Spanish historian Julio Caro Baroja, relates the figure of Xana as a regional variation of Diana (Artemis), prevalent in various European mythologies. (Wikipedia)

The marriage of the world wide collection of stuffed animals, and the adjustable scope of the fairy tale based on ancient mythology let the audience view work in a “onion effect” enabling them to adjust on the level they define themselves comfortable.

We should return to the broader topic of intercultural communication, which together with education is our main rationale. In Tvärkulturell kommunikation, Allwood defines intercultural communication as “communication between people of different cultural backgrounds, an important precondition of human co-existence on earth”. The term culture as “all the characteristics common to a particular group of people that are learned and not given by nature.” The author identifies the following primary cultural dimensions: patterns of thought, patterns of behavior, patterns of artifacts, imprints in nature. All human activities involve two or more of these dimensions and as a result it is said that the activity has become “institutionalized”, or is a “social institution”.  The author also suggests that one way to escape stereotyping is connecting the concept of culture and activity. (1985, p.1-3) The above mentioned linguistic characteristics may be fully identified as patterns in our modern museology.


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