A first-of-its-kind exhibition exploring the heritage, daily experience, diverse contributions that Indian immigrants and Indian Americans have made to shaping the US was opened at Washington to the public.
The exhibition – Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation by the Smithsonian Institute – showing at the National Museum of Natural History from Thursday celebrates the history and achievements of the Indian-American community’s political, professional, and cultural contributions to the US.
”Indian-Americans have become integral to the fabric of American life, and I’m so glad that the Smithsonian is recognizing this remarkable community’s contributions to our country,” Congressman Ami Bera said.
Bera, the only Indian-American Congressman in the current Congress, presented the Smithsonian with a framed entry into the Congressional record recognizing them for their support of the Indian-American community.
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“As a first-generation Indian-American born and raised in California, I am here today largely because of the Indian Americans of my parent’s generation who paved the way with their dedication to hard work, education and family,” he said.
The new exhibit examines the daily experiences of Indian Americans, and highlights the impacts they have had on the nation, from breakthroughs in medicine and technology to the election of Dalip Singh Saund, the first Asian-American member of Congress elected in 1956.
Highlighted artifacts include a dress worn by First Lady Michelle Obama designed by Indian-American Naeem Khan, the 1985 National Spelling Bee trophy awarded to the first Indian-American winner Balu Natarajan and Mohini Bhardwaj’s 2004 Olympic Silver Medal for gymnastics.
‘Beyond Bollywood’ is the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s largest exhibition and will be on display for at least one year.It will then travel around the country to libraries,museums, universities and community centers as a part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service beginning May 2015 for up to five years.