Culture Boxes

Generously Supported By:

Swigert Foundation 

What is a Culture Box?


WorldOregon Culture Boxes are filled with hands-on, authentic treasures and lessons about the art, culture and daily life of people from over 100 countries across six continents. These boxes can include:

  • handcrafts
  • musical instruments,
  • traditional dress,
  • foreign language books
  • games, and much more!

Culture Boxes help learners to explore and understand cultural identity around the world. Teachers can borrow Culture Boxes to enhance their lessons and increase global literacy for their K-12 students. Many of these items were donated by fellow Oregonians who have traveled, lived, or immigrated from around the world. By interacting with these cultural items, Oregonians can prepare themselves to live, work, and thrive in multicultural communities. 

Feedback from our Teachers:

“The variety of objects were amazing! Every single student found something that interested them. I had one group of students who were examining coins and then, without any prompting from me, took out their own money to compare and contrast.  This level of interest and natural curiosity is exactly what I was hoping to achieve!”

-Chehalem Middle School


" This program has allowed me to expand my view of the world in an authentic way through the things all cultures value:  music, food, art, games, and play.  My principal is expecting me to pick one box every year and has begun a new equity team on campus.  As a white teacher, I will never know everything about my students of color, but these boxes help me show my students that I love them and value their experiences.  Karen's leadership as a personal and professional mentor to me has helped me on my journey of inclusion and understanding.  I love this program.“

-Lenox Elementary Music Teacher.


Recent Stories:

Young Leaders in Action Alumni, Faisal Osman, creates a brand new Somali Culture Box 

Understanding Islam Workshop Helps Grow Portland Promote Intercultural Classrooms


To reserve a Culture Box, please contact:

Karen Ettinger, Global Classroom Manager

(503) 306-5270 or


Please include your school, grade level, & the name of the box you would like to reserve. 



We currently have culture boxes in over 100 countries across 6 continents, including many cultures which do not have formally recognized borders. For a complete list, click here!

There are many different ways to incorporate culture box material into your lesson plans. From teaching about the French art of cheesemaking while studying fermentation in Chemistry, to studying Egyptian culture while learning algebra--put your subject areas into context with culture boxes! The best way to become familiar with how to use culture boxes is by attending our Culture Box Orientation held every Fall with educators from around the greater-Portland area. Check out our events page for the most current list of upcoming educator workshops.

The user fee for each set of culture boxes depends on the number of the boxes and ranges anywhere from $20 to $65 a month. A sliding scale can be applied depending on financial need. Payment can be by check or credit card. Note: additional fees may be applied to cover loss of or damage to cultural items or educational materials.

Culture Boxes are available for pick up from Monday to Wednesday by appointment only. WorldOregon is located 3rd Floor of the Sovereign Building in Downtown Portland at 1207 SW Broadway @ Madison. The closest parking is metered on the street and the nearest parking lot is on Park and Main St. When you pick up Culture Boxes please come in to fill out forms and receive an orientation.

Our International Speakers Bureau of college students, community members and International Visitor Program guests are happy to bring your Culture Box experience to life! WorldOregon hosts over 600 international visitors a year through the U.S. Department of State. There's no better way to enhance culture box learning than by meeting someone who represents that country! Learn more about how culture box curriculum aligns with the Oregon Standards & The Common Core.


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