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The Smithsonian shows that “We are not foreigners”

By Suzanne Sen
October 2013
The Smithsonian shows that “We are not foreigners”

Sameen Piracha and Masum Momaya conclude their presentation on the Smithsonian's upcoming exhibit and traveling exhibit from the Indian American Heritage Project. (Photo: Suzanne Sen)

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Dr. Momaya and Rohit Kripalani listen to Sameen Piracha (seen in mirror) detail the needs of the traveling exhibit.(Photo: Suzanne Sen)


The Smithsonian Institution's Indian American Heritage Project is well under way and the exhibition will open to the public at the National Museum of Natural History/Museum of Man in Washington, D.C. in December 2013. Curator of the exhibit Masum Momaya PhD, and Development Specialist Ms. Sameen Piracha visited Atlanta on August 28 and were introduced to the community at a reception at the home of Rohit and Joy Kripalani. The Smithsoniam team is reaching out to various cities, to find venues and raise funds for the traveling exhibit that will tour the country after the main exhibit closes in March 2015.



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(Photo: Ritu Verma)

This year-long-plus exhibit will highlight the history of Indian Americans in this country (from 1790) and the many contributions made by Indian Americans. About 10% of the US population, or 30 million people, visit the Smithsonian annually and 114 million visit the website, so this exhibit has the potential to really help America understand that the 3.3 million Indian Americans here now "are not foreigners," as Ms. Momaya said.

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The exhibit will include a 5000 square foot gallery, interactive areas, interviews of youths of nine faiths, a dance area, and a special section on the National Spelling Bee since 70% of the winners have been Indian American! All aspects of life will be included from arts and the campaigns for rights to family farms going back six generations (did you know most peaches are from Indian American farms?).


What can you do? Connect on Facebook at Indian American Heritage Project, and on the web at apa.si.edu/indianamerican where you can sign up for the monthly email. Submit your photos/stories/history to the website. Also, depending on the venues, it may be possible for the traveling exhibit to have local portions. Share your ideas. Be part of history.



Website Bonus Feature: slide presentation on the exhibit and traveling exhibit:

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