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Keynote Presentation for NCPH

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Keynote address delivered on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the National Council on Public History's annual conference in Indianapolis.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Keynote Presentation for NCPH

  1. 1. According to the Institute for Museum and Library Services, there are over 35,000 active museums in the United States, a doubling from the number estimated in the 1990s. There is only one museum focused on Arab American history and culture. A Singular Institution
  2. 2. VISION: A united Arab American community engaged in and inspired by its cultural heritage. MISSION: The Arab American National Museum documents, preserves and presents the history, culture and contributions of Arab Americans.
  3. 3. “People give us meaning and purpose. Relationships are our foundation. We desire community empowerment and ownership. To do this, we have found the following: The work is labor intensive. The work requires flexibility. We willingly relinquish control.” – Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
  4. 4. • To further educational and public programs. • To dispel stereotypes and misconceptions. • To meet rapid growth and increased demands. • To document, preserve and celebrate Arab American history and culture. Building A National Museum
  5. 5. • What kind of museum and who would it be for? • Fear of reinforcing stereotypes or “outsider image.” • How to best reflect the diversity of the community. • The question of representation. • Constructing an Arab American identity. Initial Challenges
  6. 6. • Assess the (national) community’s support for a museum. • Create a Museum Task Force for guidance and fundraising. • Build upon established relationships. • Work with regional committees throughout the country. • Build a consensus and respond to the community. A “Democratic Grassroots” Approach
  7. 7. • Utilize personal stories that reflect the diversity of the Arab American community. • Stress the similarities of the immigrant story common to all ethnic communities. • Employ empathy and personal connections to bridge cultural gaps. Telling Our Story
  8. 8. Patriots & Peacemakers
  9. 9. – Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY
  10. 10. “Gov. Rick Snyder's announcement Sunday that he would back off — at least temporarily — from an effort to relocate Syrian refugees in Michigan set off a wave of even stronger opposition by governors across the U.S. on Monday, with several saying they would reject outright any attempts to resettle Syrians in their states.” Spangler, Todd, Paul Egan, and Niraj Warikoo. "Snyder Change on Syrian Refugees Leads More Opposition." Detroit Free Press. 17 Nov. 2015. Web. 21 Apr. 2017. <http://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2015/11/16/snyder-clarifies-stance-syrian- refugees-michigan/75865256/>.
  11. 11. “Dearborn has become a flashpoint for many people in America. Anti-Islam protestors carrying weapons have rallied in the city. The Arab American National Museum has responded by inviting people to better understand the city through food.” “"Yalla Eat!" food tour offers taste of Arab American culture in Dearborn.” Stateside. Michigan Radio, Ann Arbor, MI. 12 May 2016.
  12. 12. • Community empowerment and ownership through participation and co-creation. • Foster a safe environment for sharing experiences and expressing ideas. • Be timely and responsive. • Present history to the public in innovative ways. • Develop immersive educational opportunities for people to engage with history. Employing a Community-Based Approach
  13. 13. Devon Akmon Director | Arab American National Museum ☎ 313.624.0200 dakmon@accesscommunity.org http://www.arabamericanmuseum.org @devonakmon Thank You!

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