FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 8, 2013
TRAVELING EXHIBITION HONORS ARAB AMERICANS IN MILITARY, PEACE CORPS, DIPLOMATIC CORPS
Arab American National Museum’s Patriots & Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to Our Country opens February 16 at the Japanese American National Museum
Los Angeles’ Arab American community spotlighted
Los Angeles, CA, February 6, 2013—Arab Americans have been an integral part of the United States of America since its inception, contributing to our society in myriad ways, including representing and defending American ideals through public service. Long the target of negative stereotypes, Arab Americans even found themselves dubbed “guilty by association” following the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
A new exhibition created by the Arab American National Museum (AANM)—Patriots & Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to Our Country—tells true stories of heroism and self-sacrifice that reaffirm the important role Arab Americans have played in our country throughout its history. The exhibition opens on February 16 and runs through April 14 at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), located in downtown LA’s historic Little Tokyo district, 100 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
Patriots & Peacemakers highlights three specific areas of service: the U.S. Armed Forces, the Peace Corps, and diplomatic service. Personal narratives highlight Arab American men and women of different national and religious backgrounds. The exhibition also encourages visitors to consider how commitment to public service impacts their daily lives.
In recognition of the long-standing partnership between AANM and JANM, a private preview and reception for the Patriots & Peacemakers exhibition will be held at JANM on Friday, February 15 from 6:30 p.m to 8:30 p.m. for AANM’s Southern California supporters and JANM’s upper-level donors. This event is by invitation only.
On Saturday, March 9 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., JANM will present its Target Free Family Saturday program series in conjunction with the Patriots & Peacemakers exhibition. Generously sponsored by Target, this program series provide unique ways families can learn, play, and grow together through exciting workshops, cultural performances, and craft activities. The Target event includes special performances and educational activities that have been coordinated with AANM staff.
“Whether serving in the military, joining the Peace Corps or speaking out as conscientious objectors, Arab Americans are committed to the core values of democracy and freedom that are dear to us all,” says AANM Director Dr. Anan Ameri. “While this exhibit focuses on Arab American public service in only three areas, Arab Americans have long been present in every facet of public life.”
“The Japanese American National Museum is honored to host the Los Angeles presentation of Patriots & Peacemakers, and we are especially proud to be working with AANM, our sister institution,” said Dr. Greg Kimura, JANM President/CEO. “Through this exhibition, we are all reminded of the true meaning of sacrifice and service to our country which is not only deeply rooted in our history, but also intersects across all ethnic and cultural boundaries including between the Arab American and Japanese American communities,” he added.
Produced by the AANM Curatorial Department with guest curator Joan Mandell, Patriots & Peacemakers presents the stories of 170 individuals from 39 states and Washington, D.C. More than 100 Arab Americans in the military, and about 35 each in Peace Corps and the diplomatic corps, shared their service experiences for the exhibition.
The service stories begin with the Revolutionary War and touch upon nearly every conflict up to the present day. The earliest diplomats profiled date from the late 1940s/early 1950s. The Peace Corps was founded in 1961; Patriots & Peacemakers includes a profile from the 1962 class up through volunteers who are currently serving and one who has been accepted and is set to head out in 2012.
“Together with AANM staff and volunteers, books and archival lists were scoured for Arab surnames, consulted with historians and national organizations,” says Mandell. “Over the last two years, I visited and interviewed hundreds of Arab Americans across the country, and phoned diplomats and active-duty military around the world.”
"Humble people were sometimes reticent to talk, while others were elated to finally be heard. I learned to work with combat veterans to safely push through the fear and shame that has kept their heartfelt stories secret, even for decades,” Mandell says.
Following its 2011-2012 run at the AANM, Patriots & Peacemakers went on the road as a major traveling exhibition; small and large versions of the exhibition are available for bookings. Inquiries may be directed to Curatorial Department Manager Elizabeth Chilton at 313.624.0227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guest curator Joan Mandell is a Detroit-based journalist, documentary filmmaker and educator. Among her documentary titles are Tales from Arab Detroit; Voices in Exile: Immigrants and the First Amendment; Gaza Ghetto: Portrait of a Palestinian Family; I, Too, Sing America; One Million Postcards; and Arab American Road Movie, the short film that is part of the AANM’s “Living in America” permanent exhibit. Her ,em>9-11 Moments can be viewed at http://archive.itvs.org/9.11/.
Mandell has taught documentary film production/film studies and ESL at University of California at Irvine, Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, Birzeit University in Palestine and most recently, aboard ship with the University of Virginia’s Semester-at-Sea program. She was a Fulbright scholar, a Felton Scholar in Media Literacy and an affiliated fellow at UCLA's von Grunebaum Center for Near East Studies.
The creation of Patriots & Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to Our Country was made possible in part by The Ford Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and Chevron.
About the Japanese American National Museum
The Japanese American National Museum is dedicated to its mission to fostering a better understanding and appreciation for America's ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. Since its incorporation in 1985, the National Museum is internationally recognized for its award-winning exhibitions, ground-breaking traveling exhibits, educational programming, innovative media documentaries, and cutting-edge curriculum guides.
The Japanese American National Museum is located at 100 North Central Avenue in historic Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles. For more information, call (213) 625-0414, or visit janm.org. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Thursday from noon to 8:00 p.m. Admission is $9.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors; $5.00 for students and children; FREE for Museum members and children under age six. Admission is FREE to everyone on Thursdays from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. and every third Thursday of the month from noon to 8:00 p.m. Closed Mondays, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
About the Arab American National Museum
The Arab American National Museum documents, preserves and presents Arab American history, culture and contributions. It is a project of ACCESS, a Dearborn, Michigan-based nonprofit human services and cultural organization. Learn more at www.arabamericanmuseum.org and www.accesscommunity.org.
The Arab American National Museum is a proud Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Read about the Affiliations program at http://affiliations.si.edu.
The Museum is located at 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI, 48126. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday, Tuesday; Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission is $8 for adults; $4 for students, seniors and children 6-12; ages 5 and under and Museum Members, free. Call 313.582.2266 for further information.