National Museum of American History Highlights US Immigration

A new exhibit at Washington, D.C.’s National Museum of American History will showcase the wide variety of cultural influences that the United States has been built upon.

The exhibit, called, “American Stories,” chronicles the United States’ history of immigration, and clearly illustrates how newcomers have earned their citizenship and have enriched the country’s cultural fabric.

All written material for the exhibit is both in Spanish and English, and many artifacts and pieces of memorabilia in the exhibit are in other languages, as well – one 2008 Barack Obama campaign button, for example, is in Hebrew, according to The Associated Press. Certain items in the exhibit also point clearly to the immigrant makeup of the country, such as a gown worn at a 2006 quinceanera, donated by a Latina woman from Chicago who is now 20 years old.

The museum’s directors believe the exhibit is true to the actual history of the United States, and does not follow the “popular” history models of many past historic displays.

“We’re so getting away from the time when history was all about white men on horses,” Marc Pachter, the museum’s interim director, told the AP. “This is a broader definition of what is important to remember.”

While some of the pieces highlight some of the United States’ more well-known citizens, such as Benjamin Franklin, other relics in the display follow the interesting stories of less iconic people. Bob Bodansky let the museum borrow items from his grandmother, a Holocaust survivor and former concert pianist in Vienna, according to ABC News.

“We know that she sewed uniforms, we learned that she was a concert pianist in Vienna and we think that maybe those two skills allowed her to survive through that,” Bodansky told ABC.