Building a yurt (on top of a skating rink!) is part of the curriculum in Professor Stephen Jones’ Silk Road course at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Students also learned the traditional art of felt making with sculptural artist and art educator Nancy Milliken.
“The purpose [of the yurt project] is to show the class how nomads put up their homes on the steppes,” Jones said. The yurt, continued Jones, takes a central role in class discussions about silk roads as ancient transportation and trade links. Travelers often stayed in yurts while embarking on the world’s oldest trade route.