Monday, April 11, 2011

Celebrating Immigrant Heritage Week

This Monday marks the start of Immigrant Heritage Week here in New York City--a time to celebrate the rich contributions that immigrants make to our city and our nation. It’s especially meaningful for us at the Tenement Museum, where we discuss both immigrant history and contemporary issues with thousands of visitors from around the world each week.

The United States has been a nation of immigrants from the start. Our culture reflects this in the foods we eat, the music we hear and the holidays we celebrate; our economy is fueled by the labor and innovation of immigrant workers and entrepreneurs.

Chinese Schoolchildren c.1910

Here at the Tenement Museum, we celebrate the strength and variety of our immigrant experiences every day. Often, visitors find that the stories we tell mirror those of their own families. Whether our roots are in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, or right here in New York, we can all find commonalities with the people who started new lives at 97 Orchard Street.

This week is a perfect time to support immigrant heritage and the Tenement Museum by paying us a visit or joining us as a museum member. We are a community organization in the truest sense, and we hope you’ll contribute to our ongoing conversation.

In an effort to share some of our own personal histories, and in celebration of this important week, we’re excited to present a series of stories from our museum staff members here on our blog. I hope you’ll check back to read each of these uniquely powerful contributions. Today you’ll find the first of five installments.

--Morris J. Vogel, Tenement Museum President

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