Analysis Of The Smithsonian's National Museum Of American History

1588 WordsDec 10, 20177 Pages
Interestingly, the exhibition did try to showcase ethnic immigrant groups however, used stereotypical depictions of traditional objects (Watkins). Moreover, “the exhibit also attempted to address the thorny issues of slavery and racism, and displayed drawings of slave ships and shackles” (Burns 113). Other than drawings there were no other methods of interpretation used to depict such a complex topic. In not displaying “the crude physicality of actual artifacts, or even replicas, Smithsonian curators avoided possible confrontation and accentuated themes and history believed to unite all immigrant groups, regardless of origin or circumstance” (Burns 113). A Nation of Nations could have pushed more at the boundaries of what was considered…show more content…
The exhibition curators attempted to create an exhibition that went further than display of historical artifacts to tell a story of the past to make it relatable to visitors today as “considering objects, images, and first-person accounts of a variety of people across time can cultivate our narrative imaginations and help us better understand our diverse nation” (Salazar-Porzio and Troyano 20). The exhibition highlights topics such as ethnic diversity, equality, and freedom, “so that as a nation we might go beyond simple acknowledgement of our past, present, and future diversity to focus on building an equitable and inclusive society” (Salazar-Porzio and Troyano 16). The exhibition begins by displaying objects from some of the first groups to immigrate to the United States and continues with broad themes of more contemporary issues regarding immigration today. The show progresses chronologically, but also organizes groups by geography. The assortment of type of objects included in each display section tells a story about the history of each immigrant group. Additionally, “Nancy Davis, curator in the division of home and community life, project director and one of the organizers of the exhibition...says the sheer variety in the display shows that history continues to be written” especially in regards to the sections on modern immigration stories (Catlin). During the time

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