Home India News Smithsonian to chronicle the story of Indian Americans

Smithsonian to chronicle the story of Indian Americans

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : The Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex, is putting together an exhibition chronicling the story of immigrants from India and their descendants in America.

“HomeSpun: Smithsonian Indian American Heritage Project”, the first Smithsonian initiative focused on the Indian American experience, will convey the history, contributions and challenges of nearly three million Indian Americans and signal their place in America.

The initial goal is to raise $2 million dollars for the project so that the exhibition can open this year and travel the country for three years.

The Smithsonian is looking for an additional endowment of at least $1 million to generate interest needed to continue Smithsonian projects focusing on Indian Americans in perpetuity.

At a presentation briefing on the project, the Indian ambassador Nirupama Rao highlighted the ‘people centric’ dimension of the India-US partnership and how it has, over the years, particularly strengthened the ‘mutually beneficial’ character of cooperation between India and the US.

“India takes pride in achievements of the three million strong India-origin community in the United States”, she said.

Rao described “HomeSpun” as a celebration of the accomplishments and success of the Indian-origin community in the US and expressed confidence that it would be an effective public demonstration of the potential and capabilities of Indian Americans in contributing to the American society and economy and also to the India-US partnership.

Curated by Dr. Pawan Dhingra, HomeSpun sets out to answer questions like how did this community come to such prominence yet in other respects remains a community in formation, how does this story reveal America’s unique history of immigration and how can learning about Indian Americans inform the experiences of other groups and the nation (and India) overall.

HomeSpun will consist of exhibits, public programmes, a middle school curriculum, and a cutting-edge website. As such it will establish a permanent presence – through research, collections, and public programmes – within the Smithsonian complex.

HomeSpun also will be visible in key cities as the exhibition travels the country and public programmes are held in various venues in cooperation with local communities.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])