There are an estimated 17,000 museums in the United States . They include institutions devoted to almost very conceivable historic period, artistic style and world culture. Some feature famous women and men, others famous objects, from airplanes to dinosaur bones. Still others collect flora and fauna from the rainforest to the Arctic tundra. But in this vast galaxy, there was not a single museum that documented the history, the contributions and the experience of Arab Americans. Not until May 5, 2005, that is, when the Arab-American community celebrated the inauguration of the Arab American National Museum (AANM) in Dearborn, Mich.
The museum took five years to bring to completion. To some, that is a very rapid pace from planning to opening. But to those of us directly involved, it seemed like a long and arduous journey. At times we questioned whether we would succeed. But we never questioned the importance of the project or the need for educating the public by bringing the voices and faces of Arab Americans to mainstream audiences. Our goal, as our mission states, is “to enhance the knowledge and understanding about Arab Americans and their presence in the United States .” [Read more…]