Whew! I can’t believe it’s already been a week since I was in Michigan celebrating the opening of our exhibition Fighting for Democracy: Who is the “We” in “We the People?” at the Arab American National Museum. Not only did the Great Lakes State welcome me with surprisingly warm weather (a very important detail for this Southern Californian) but, the warm welcome and generous hospitality from the fantastic staff at the AANM made it a great trip.
It’s always interesting to see this exhibit installed in the various cities to which it’s traveled. Whether it is displayed in Philadelphia where the Constitution was signed, steps away from the actual Constitution on the National Mall, or in Hawai‘i where we joined Domingo Los Baños (one of the individuals featured in the exhibit) in his home state, each place adds different meaning and significance to the exhibit. The Arab American National Museum is the 8th stop on Fighting for Democracy’s tour and it is an institution that we, at JANM feel a special connection with. Not only do we share the commonality of being culturally specific museums that promote the appreciation of our country’s diversity; but, we also have common histories and stories that are particularly important to share as we consider parallels between the Japanese American World War II experience and the treatment of Arab Americans following the events of September 11, 2001.
What is great about Fighting for Democracy traveling to AANM right now is that is goes along so well with their current exhibition Patriots & Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to our Country. Linking the past to the present, both exhibitions focus on individual personal stories as a way to think about broader stories and the bigger picture. I think that’s a great way to make meaning.
Many thanks to the wonderful people at the Arab American National Museum for being so welcoming and for working so hard to get the exhibition up. If you’re in the area, be sure to go see our friends in Dearborn. It is a great museum and definitely worth a stop!