National Museum of American History
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
2nd Floor, West Wing Floor Plan
Through more than 5,000 original objects, this exhibition documents the diversity of people who have come to America over the centuries and affirms that America is linked to other nations by an intricate web of cultural ties. The 1st section, "1776: A New Nation," explores immigration patterns to 1800. The exhibition shows early explorers from Spain, France, Holland, and England, then from almost every portion of Europe, as well as forced immigration by black Africans.
-- German stoneware
-- Dutch delftware
-- French trade goods
-- Chinese porcelain
-- Indian tools
-- Spanish images
-- a New England craftsman's kitchen
The 2nd section, "Old Ways in a New Nation," explores the increasing flow of immigrants throughout the 19th century, their usual method of travel, traditional ways of working, and modes of social organization.
-- a grist mill , or "molino," from New Mexico
-- a Great Plains windmill
-- tools and utensils
-- homemade products from furniture to paintings
The 3rd section, "Shared Experiences in a New Nation," focuses on the "American" activities and environments shared by immigrants from the close of the Civil War to present day. Some shared experiences addressed in this section includes becoming a United States citizen, attending free public schools, learning the routines of military basic training, and participating in and enjoying the world of entertainment (sports, movies, television). Highlights include a classroom from Cleveland's Dunham Elementary School.
The exhibit was preceded by 5 Cases of the Month in the month of November 1975, each dealing with a section of the upcoming exhibit.