February 28, 2024 – Panel Discussion “A Decade of Cross-Cultural Collaboration: How Hawaii Inspired China’s Children’s Museum Development”

Watch the recorded webinar HERE

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm, via Zoom | Register Here | flyer PDF

Over a decade ago, Chinese philanthropist Mr. NIU Gensheng had an unexpected visit to the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center (HCDC). Following this eye-opening experience, he promptly met with HCDC’s founder, Loretta Yajima, marking the beginning of a decade-long cross-cultural collaboration. Liane Usher, HCDC’s current president, will share HCDC’s local impact and how its cross-continent influence started. Dr. Ni Zhang will then discuss the collaborative efforts involving private foundations, government institutions, and non-profit organizations that led to the establishment of the two pilot children’s museums in China. Following video footage from these museums, Xin Liu will share the Children’s Museum Research Center (CMRC)’s current projects and ongoing impact on Chinese children’s museum education. The significant impact of these pilot children’s museums and CMRC on Chinese children, families, and early childhood education may serve as inspiration for cross-cultural projects.

Speakers and Panelists:

Liane Usher

Liane Usher, President of the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center, is a passionate educator and advocate for early childhood education. Since joining the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center in 2001, Liane has played a pivotal role in shaping the vision and mission of the organization. A graduate of Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii, she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Psychology from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, and earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.


Ni Zhang

Ni Zhang, Associate Director of the Center for Chinese Studies at UHM.  Dr. Zhang was the founding director for two pilot children’s museums in China as well as CMRC at Beijing Normal University (BNU). As a pioneer in children’s museum development in China, she also serves as the Ambassador in China for the International Association for Children in Museums. She graduated from the master of education program at Teachers’ College, Columbia University and earned her Doctor of Education Degree from Johns Hopkins University.



Xin Liu

Xin Liu, the Executive Director of Children’s Museum Research Center (CMRC) at the Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University. Since joining CMRC in 2013, Xin Liu has been instrumental in various children’s museum projects, contributing his expertise throughout the planning, exhibition and program design, and operation phases. He led the drafting of the Guidance for Children’s Museums in China (2019) and the Practical Guidance for Children’s Museum Education in China (2021).



Organizer/Moderator: Dr. Ni Zhang, Associate Director of the Center for Chinese Studies at UHM

Co-sponsors: Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center and CMRC, BNU