Smithsonians Focus on Indian Americans by khabarinc


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									                                                Smithsonian's Focus
                                                on Indian Americans
                                                May 2011

                                                Launched in 2009, a Smithsonian initiative
                                                named HomeSpun aims to showcase the Indian-
                                                American experience as never before in
                                                Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian complex,
                                                which draws perhaps 30 million visitors annually,
                                                includes a museum devoted to the Native
                                                American experience. It’s called the National
                                                Museum of the American Indian.

One day, in the nation’s capital, will there be a National Museum of the Indian American?
Probably not. But there could well be a National Museum of the Asian American that includes an
Indian-American wing.

That’s the goal, and since 1997, the Smithsonian has commissioned several projects and
exhibitions focusing on East Asian Americans like the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese. Now
comes the turn of Indian Americans. HomeSpun will retrace, through multimedia exhibits, the
historical journey of this three-million-strong community and showcase its cultural legacy. Also
planned is a tribute to major Indian-American achievers.

Recently, the Smithsonian appointed Pawan Dhingra as the curator to oversee this project. A
sociologist known for his emphasis on Indian-American studies, Dhingra previously taught at
Oberlin College in Ohio. His latest book, Life Behind the Lobby, is about Indian-American motel
and hotel owners.

When will this exhibition open? Not until late 2012, but first comes the hard job (especially these
days) of fundraising, which began in 2009. The target is $2 million, and the Smithsonian is
soliciting contributions from those who are able and willing. How will those who don’t go to
D.C. see this exhibition? Well, the Internet will bring it into your home, and for those seeking a
live experience, the exhibition will travel to several cities in the U.S. Dr. Dhingra is also
involved in preparing a curriculum guide on Indian Americans for middle schools.

Published by Khabar Magazine, Desi World section March 2006 issue.

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