American Moments: An Engaging Exhibit for All

American Moments: The Legacy of Greek Immigration

(National Hellenic Museum: Chicago, IL)

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            “The story of American immigration is universal; yet, each immigrant community has brought along a unique culture and a history, now entwined into what Walt Whitman called the ‘composite American identity of the future.’”[1] American Moments: The Legacy of Greek Immigration is an exhibit currently on display at the National Hellenic Museum which effectively communicates the unique story of Greco-Americans from the late nineteenth century to today through the use of videos, photographs, artifacts, interactives, and audio oral history accounts. Following a linear and roughly chronological format, the overall argument of AmericanMoments is the notion that Greek immigrants, while determinedly preserving their own heritage, were nonetheless successful in assimilating to American culture and have since then had a profound effect on the nation’s history.

While the exhibit is celebratory and focused on the Greek immigrant narrative, the introductory label asks every visitor regardless of their ethnic background to contemplate the trials and hardships of all immigrants past and present through the lens of the Greek immigrant experience in the United States. This statement is crucial for it actively engages visitors of all ethnic backgrounds to consider questions and construct parallels either to their own immigrant ancestors on a personal level or to contemporary immigrants today; “through a long process of struggle, failure and success, immigrants became Americans and their various cultures became integral parts of the American mosaic”[2] Thus, American Moments: The Legacy of Greek Immigration, is a scholarly and engaging exhibit that all people, not simply Greeks, can enjoy and appreciate. Continue reading “American Moments: An Engaging Exhibit for All”