Arab American National Museum

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The Arab American National Museum (AANM), which opened in 2005, is the first museum in the world devoted to Arab American history and culture. Located in Dearborn, Michigan, the Museum seeks to dispel misconceptions about Arab Americans and other minorities.[1]

The museum features two permanent exhibits. The first floor features the contributions of the Arab civilization to science, medicine, mathematics, architecture, and the decorative arts. The second floor focuses on the Arab experience in America, including a gallery about prominent Arab-Americans such as Ralph Nader and Helen Thomas and displays of documents and artifacts from Arab Americans related to immigration and the immigration process. The AANM also includes two large gallery spaces for the exhibiting of art. The Museum's inaugural exhibition In/Visible featured a number of noteworthy Arab-American and Arab artists including Emily Jacir, John Halaka, Athir Shayota, Helen Zughaib, Rheim Alkadhi, Abdelali Dahrouch, Sumayyah Samaha, Mariam Ghani and Doris Bittar and was curated by Salwa Mikdadi.[2]

Construction of the museum cost $15 million. Donors included Chrysler, General Motors, the Rockefeller Foundation, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.[3] The museum is also a part of the Smithsonian Affiliations.[4]

Arab American National Museum Mission Statement[edit]

The Arab American National Museum's mission is to document, preserve, celebrate, and educate the public on the history, life, culture and contributions of Arab Americans. We serve as a resource to enhance knowledge and understanding about Arab Americans and their presence in the United States.[1]

Programs and Events at the AANM[edit]

DIWAN: A Forum for the Arts is a biennial program of the Arab American National Museum (AANM). DIWAN unites Arab American artists, scholars and performers representing myriad academic fields and artistic genres for a weekend dialogue that reinforces the AANM's commitment to providing a place for community members and artists to meet, exchange ideas and exhibit their work. DIWAN also encourages audiences to explore the boundaries of art in addressing social issues related to Arab Americans and the community at large.[5] Notable presenters at the 2009 DIWAN conference include writer Najla Said, poet Suheir Hammad, artist Wafaa Bilal, and poet Remi Kanazi.[5]

Global Thursdays is a periodic music program at the AANM that promotes World Music. Though Global Thursdays is held at the Arab American National Museum the music is a diverse mix from Mexican American roots music to Chinese Classical and Rock.[6] The program also focuses on Michigan made music including Jere Stormer's Folk Out, a Michigan folk music revue. Global Thursdays also showcases a diverse mix of Arab American artists including famous Palestinian American poet Suheir Hammad, Dearborn comedian Sarah Bazzi and legendary Oud and Violin player Simon Shaheen.

Arab Film Festival is an annual film festival put on by the AANM that showcases a number of notable Arab and Arab American films over a weekend. Past festivals have celebrated the career of a particular Arab filmmaker or director. The 2008 Arab Film Festival honored the work of the legendary Egyptian film director Youssef Chahine and showed his films The Cairo Station and The Destiny.[7] The festival also features short films such as Kemo Sabe the story of Yussef, a six year old Arab-American boy who dreams of being the Cowboy instead of the Indian on the playground.[8]

The Arab American Book Award was established in 2006 to celebrate and support the research of and the written work of Arab Americans and their culture. The Arab American Book Award encourages the publication and excellence of books that preserve and advance the understanding, knowledge, and resources of the Arab American community by celebrating the thoughts and lives of Arab Americans. The purpose of the Award is to inspire authors, educate readers and foster a respect and understanding of the Arab American culture.[9]

The Book Award covers four general areas of authorship: Adult Fiction, Adult Non-Fiction, Children's/ Young Adult and as of 2008, Poetry.

Permanent Collection of Art[edit]

Complementing its regular lineup of solo and group exhibitions of art from the Arab world and its American diaspora, the museum holds a permanent collection of paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, and installation art. Represented in this collection with notable works are artists Helen Zughaib, John Halaka, Kamal Boulatta, Doris Bittar, Sumayyah Samaha, Afaf Zurayk, Leila Kubba Kawash, Athir Shayota, Wafer Shayota, and Adnan Charara.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Arab American National Museum of Arab American History, Culture & Art". Arabamericanmuseum.org. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  2. ^ Farhat, Maymanah Art Exhibition Inaugurates Arab American National Museum |publisher=Washington-report.org Washington Report on Middle East Affairs Retrieved 04.09.2009
  3. ^ Harry Mount. Islam's US faithful are happy to embrace the American dream, Daily Telegraph, July 23, 2005.
  4. ^ "Arab American National Museum". Affiliates. Smithsonian Affiliations. 2011. Retrieved 15 Jul 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "DIWAN: A Forum for the Arts". Arabamericanmuseum.org. Archived from the original on 23 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  6. ^ "Global Thursdays Home Page". Arabamericanmuseum.org. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  7. ^ 2008 Arab Film Festival schedule and brochure
  8. ^ "Kemo Sabe". Audience.withoutabox.com. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  9. ^ "Arab American National Museum". Arabamericanmuseum.org. Archived from the original on 3 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 

External links[edit]