Culture Boxes

What is a Culture Box?

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. They are a catalyst to invite international guests to the classroom to bring their culture to life. Culture Boxes can include:

  • Cooking Utensils
  • Folktale Books
  • Handicrafts
  • Musical Instruments
  • Toys & Games
  • Traditional Dress 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. 

Online Culture Box Resources

Invite International Students into Your Classroom

Culture Box & Prop List

Video- How Teachers Use Culture Boxes

Alignment to Oregon Standards & The Common Core (updated in 2018)

Traveling, cleaning out your closets? Ideas for Culture Box contributions, click here 

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

Culture Box Stories:

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


To reserve a Culture Box, please contact:

Karen Ettinger, Global Classroom Manager

(503) 306-5270 or [email protected].


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 whether you are teaching virtually or in person. From sharing 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 to attend our fall Culture Box workshop on November 10th, 2020. Click here to register!

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.

After reserving Culture Boxes, please make an appointment with Karen Ettinger for pick up. Culture Boxes are located in the offices of WorldOregon on the 3rd floor of the Sovereign Building in downtown Portland at 1207 SW Broadway @ Madison. We offer curbside pick-up and drop off for your convenience and safety.

Our network of international college students, community members and our International Visitor Program exchange participants are happy to bring your Culture Box experience to life during COVID-19 with a Zoom meeting! There's no better way to enhance culture box learning than by meeting someone who represents that country! Contact [email protected] for more information.


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