Asian and Pacific Americans make up more than 5% of the U.S. population, over 17 million people—and those numbers are growing. Their ancestral roots represent over 50% of the world, extending from East Asia to Southeast Asia, and from South Asia to the Pacific Islands and Polynesia.

In the first exhibition of its kind, the Smithsonian celebrates Asian Pacific American history across this multitude of incredibly diverse cultures, and explores how Asian Pacific Americans have shaped and been shaped by the course of our nation’s history. Rich with compelling, often surprising stories, the exhibition takes a sweeping look at this history, from the very first Asian immigrants to the influx of highly skilled workers many decades later.

The exhibition charts the beginnings of Asians in America, from the idea of Asia first motivating Christopher Columbus’ trans-Atlantic voyage of discovery in 1492 to the arrival of Asian laborers all along the Gulf Coast and Eastern American seaboard throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. From there, the exhibition tells the rich and complex stories of early Asian immigrants finding homes and participating in key moments in American history. Asian immigrants panned in the Gold Rush, hammered ties in the Transcontinental Railroad, and fought on both sides in the Civil War. And, on plantations in Hawai`i and farms in California, they helped build the nation’s agricultural system.

Through the decades, Asian immigrants struggled against legal exclusion, civil rights violations, and unlawful detention, such as the 120,000 Japanese who were interned during WWII. Since the 1960s, vibrant new communities, pan-Asian, Pacific Islander, and cross-cultural in make-up, have blossomed. Asian Americans enrich the cultural life of the nation, and continue to help write the remarkable story of America.

I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story was created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. The exhibition is supported by a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.



Exhibition specifications

Contents 30 free-standing banners with text, photographs, art, and graphics
Supplemental Mobile tour app, e-comic, companion website, educational and promotional resources
Participation Fee $2,000 per 10-week booking period, plus outgoing shipping
Size Approximately 300 running feet
Category History & Culture
Security Limited
Shipping Outgoing
SITES Contacts Sara Artes, 202.633.3113 (Content)
Minnie Russell, 202.633.3160 (Scheduling)
Tour begins September 2013
   
 
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Tour itinerary

Opening Closing Copy 1: Host Institution Status
05/01/2013- 08/25/2013 Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Washington, DC Booked
09/14/2013- 12/01/2013 Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, CA Booked
12/21/2013- 03/02/2014 Four Rivers Cultural Center and Museum, Ontario, OR Booked
03/22/2014- 08/31/2014 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, Hilo, HI Booked
09/20/2014- 11/30/2014   Call for Availability
12/20/2014- 03/01/2015   Call for Availability
03/21/2015- 05/31/2015 State Center Community College District/Willow International Community College Center, Fresno, CA Booked
06/20/2015- 08/30/2015 Sonoma County Museum, Santa Rosa, CA Booked
09/19/2015- 11/29/2015   Call for Availability
12/19/2015- 02/28/2016   Call for Availability
03/19/2016- 05/29/2016   Call for Availability
06/18/2016- 08/28/2016   Call for Availability
09/17/2016- 11/27/2016   Call for Availability
     
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Opening Closing Copy 2: Host Institution Status
03/22/2014- 06/01/2014 Minnesota History Center Museum, St. Paul, MN Booked
06/21/2014- 08/31/2014 Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO Reserved
09/20/2014- 11/30/2014 Idaho Museum of Natural History, Pocatello, ID Booked
12/20/2014- 05/31/2015 Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Riverside, CA Booked
06/20/2015- 08/30/2015 Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County, Yuba City, CA Booked
09/19/2015- 11/29/2015 Asian American Resource Center, City of Austin, Parks and Recreation, Austin, TX Booked
12/19/2015- 02/28/2016   Call for Availability
03/19/2016- 05/29/2016   Call for Availability
06/18/2016- 08/28/2016   Call for Availability
09/17/2016- 11/27/2016   Call for Availability
12/17/2016- 02/26/2017   Call for Availability
03/18/2017- 05/28/2017   Call for Availability
06/17/2017- 08/27/2017   Call for Availability
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

Related publications

FREE Poster Set

Created in partnership with Teaching Tolerance in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

High-resolution download available.

Asian Pacific American comics anthology
FREE e-book (Coming Soon!)

 
 
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Press Release

Media only: Lindsey Koren (202) 633-3122; korenl@si.edu
Media website: http://newsdesk.si.edu

Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition First of Its Kind To Celebrate Asian Pacific American History: National Tour Kicks Off May 4 at National Museum of American History

Asian and Pacific Americans make up more than 5 percent of the U.S. population—more than 17 million people—and those numbers are growing. Their ancestral roots represent more than 50 percent of the world, extending from East Asia to Southeast Asia, and from South Asia to the Pacific Islands and Polynesia.

In commemoration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May, “I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story” will open with a special six-week showing at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, May 4 through June 18. On May 4, the museum will host a Family Day program featuring local literary writers, spoken-word artists, exhibit tours, arts and crafts, and activities for young people such as scavenger hunts and storytelling.

The exhibition will next open at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles in September, before continuing on a 13-city national tour. “I Want the Wide American Earth” was created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The exhibition is supported by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

In this first exhibition of its kind, the Smithsonian celebrates Asian Pacific American history across a multitude of diverse cultures and explores how Asian Pacific Americans have shaped and been shaped by the course of the nation’s history. “I Want the Wide American Earth” tells the rich and complex stories of the very first Asian immigrants, including their participation in key moments in American history: Asian immigrants panned in the Gold Rush, hammered ties in the Transcontinental Railroad, fought on both sides in the Civil War and helped build the nation’s agricultural system.

Through the decades, Asian immigrants struggled against legal exclusion, civil rights violations and unlawful detention, such as the 120,000 Japanese who were interned during World War II. Since the 1960s, vibrant new communities, pan-Asian, Pacific Islander and cross-cultural in make-up, have blossomed.
The banner exhibition is complemented by an e-book, which is a 14-page illustrated adaption of the exhibition. Produced in collaboration with SI Universe Media, creators of the first-ever Asian Pacific American comics anthology, the e-book will tell the Asian Pacific American story in graphic narrative, featuring work by seven Asian Pacific American comic artists. The e-book is free to download and viewable on all tablet devices and e-readers (coming soon).

The exhibit also features a mobile tour app (landing in iTunes in May), which includes interviews with authors Maxine Hong Kingston and Monique Truong; U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta; Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center director Konrad Ng; activist Deepa Iyer; and U.S. retired major general Antonio Taguba. A set of educational posters based on the exhibition will be distributed to schools and other learning and cultural institutions and organizations to serve as a resource for learning Asian Pacific American history and culture. Curated by Lawrence-Ming Bùi Davis, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center Initiative coordinator, “I Want the Wide American Earth” is a moving, dramatic and evocative narrative of Asian Pacific American history and culture.

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center
The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center produces programs and exhibitions about the Asian Pacific American experience and works in partnership with organizations across the Smithsonian and beyond to enrich collections and activities about the Asian Pacific American experience. It shares the challenges and stories of America’s fastest-growing communities. It connects treasures and scholars with the public, celebrates long-lived traditions and explores contemporary expressions. The stories it tells are vital to a deeper understanding of the nation and a richer appreciation of Asian Pacific cultures. Visit www.apa.si.edu for more information.

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service
SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for 60 years. SITES connects Americans to their cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play.

The National Museum of American History
The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. The Museum is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W. and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Check the website for special extended summer hours.

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FOR EXHIBITORS

» Exhibition Specs

» Related Publications

» Exhibition Prospectus

» Press Release

» Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

» FREE Poster Set

» Free E-Comic Book


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