Eliseo Silva mural in LA. Courtesy Filipinas Magazine.


Singgalot (The Ties That Bind) title bar

Archived exhibitions are no longer available for booking but are maintained as a virtual record of past Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) programs.

Today there are more than 2.5 million Filipino Americans in the U.S. Yet many, including Filipinos themselves, aren't familiar with the details of their history in America: their experiences, rich traditions, and culture. Singgalot is their story.

Eleanor 'Connie' Mariano was promoted to Rear Admiral in 2000. Courtesy Filipinas MagazineAfter tracing the first trans-oceanic trade missions between Manila and Acapulco in the 1500s, Singgalot explores the tenuous political relationship between the United States and the Philippines, when Spain ceded the Pacific-island following the Spanish-American War. Rarely seen historical images detail Filipino migration between 1906 and 1935 as Hawai’i sugar plantations, West Coast farms, and Alaskan canneries recruited Asians to join the labor force.

When the U.S. government sounded the call to arms in the 1940s, Filipino immigrants answered, serving as infantrymen and earning respect from a grateful nation. Nearly 20 years later, the 1965 Immigration Act hastened a third major wave of Filipinos who would champion major changes in gender equality and class in the Filipino American community and make significant contributions to the fight for civil rights.

In 2006, the Smithsonian Filipino American Centennial Commemoration marked 100 years of Filipino migration to the United States with insightful exhibitions, special programs, and an extensive curriculum guide. Singgalot celebrates Filipino Americans as they share their struggles, challenges, and achievements with the rest of the nation.

Additional support for this exhibition was provided by Ford Motor Company Fund.


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Exhibition specifications

Contents 30 panels with photographs and text

Education and promotional resources

Participation Fee

$1,500 per 10-week booking period, plus outgoing shipping

Size 100 running feet
Category History & Culture
Security Limited
Shipping Outgoing
SITES Contacts

Minnie Russell, 202.633.3160 (Scheduling)
Jeff Thompson, 202.633.3115 (Content/Design)

Toured Through February 2012

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Filipino railroad workers in Montana, 1920. Courtesy Estrella Alamar.

What are host museums saying about Singgalot?

The Charlotte Museum of History had an outstanding turnout at the opening of the Singgalot exhibition . . . in fact, over 1,300 visitors! It's your dedication and commitment in developing such poignant exhibitions that makes this such a success!
—Charlotte Museum of History, North Carolina


Tour itinerary

Opening Closing Host Institution Status
08/02/2008 10/26/2008 Remy's on Temple Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA Booked
11/15/2008 01/25/2009 Reynolds Gallery, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA Booked
02/14/2009 04/26/2009 Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO Booked
05/16/2009- 10/25/2009 Odegaard Undergraduate Library, University of Washington, Seattle, CA Booked
05/15/2010- 07/25/2010 Filipino-American Historical Society, Chicago, IL Booked
08/14/2010- 10/24/2010 San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA Booked
11/13/2010- 01/13/2011 Intercultural Center, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA Booked
02/12/2011- 04/24/2011 Missouri History Museum, St. Louis, MO Booked
05/14/2011 07/24/2011 California University of Pennsylvania, California, PA Booked
Extension Tour Dates      
Opening Closing    
08/13/2011- 10/16/2011 Charlotte Museum of History, Charlotte, NC Booked
11/12/2011- 01/22/2012 Sonoma County Museum, Santa Rosa, CA Booked
02/11/2012- 04/22/2012 Charles B. Wang Center, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY Booked

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Related publications

100: A Century of Challenge and Change | The Filipino American Story, curriculum guide produced by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Association.

>> Download

Singgalot Curriculum Guide

Singgalot (The Ties that Bind)
Exhibition Prospectus

>> Download

Singgalot exhibition prospectus

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Media only: Lindsey Koren (202) 633-3122
Media Web site: http:\\newsdesk.si.edu

Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Brings Filipino American
History to Life

There are more than 2.5 million Filipino Americans in the United States. However, many people, including Filipinos themselves, are not familiar with the details of their history in America, such as Filipinos’ experiences, rich traditions and culture. A traveling exhibition developed by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program and organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), tells their story.

“Singgalot: The Ties That Bind” opens at Remy’s on Temple Art Gallery in Los Angeles Aug. 2 (through Oct. 26) and continues on a national tour through 2011. The tour is made possible by Farmers Insurance.
Nearly 100 images and historical documents vividly portray the social history and the development of the Filipino community in the United States.

“Singgalot” initially explores the experience of Filipinos as colonial subjects and nationals, and further examines their struggles to acquire full citizenship as immigrants in the United States throughout the previous century.

“The exhibition uses rare photographs and illustrations from the National Archives, the Library of Congress and personal collections to provide a glimpse into the dynamic story, culture and contemporary issues of Filipino Americans,” said co-curator Franklin Odo, director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program. “‘Singgalot’ is a deeply moving, dramatic and evocative narrative of Filipino American history and culture.”

The exhibition traces Filipino presence in North America from the first transoceanic trade missions between Manila and Acapulco in the mid-16th century to the 19th century. During this time, some Filipinos settled in the bayous of Louisiana. Subsequent images in the exhibition depict the first significant wave of Filipino immigrants who came as American “nationals” after the United States acquired the Philippines following the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Successive waves of immigrants, beginning with “sakadas,” or migrant laborers, were brought to fill the labor needs of Hawaii’s plantations, California’s farms and Alaska’s salmon canneries. The exhibition also highlights Filipino public service in the U.S. military, achievements in literature, arts and sports, and in the health care industry. The past four decades have witnessed tremendous growth of the Filipino American community, and the current group of immigrants who began arriving after 1965 has revitalized Filipino ethnic identity and culture in the United States.

Originally displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in 2006, “Singgalot” was created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program with the University of Hawaii Department of Ethnic Studies to commemorate 100 years of the Filipino American experience in the United States. Dean Alegado of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Franklin Odo of the Smithsonian Institution co-curated the exhibition.

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program has provided vision, leadership and support for all Asian Pacific American activities at the Smithsonian for more than a decade. The program’s goals are to reflect experiences of Asian Pacific Americans in all aspects of Smithsonian work; to improve the public’s appreciation of the role of Asian Pacific Americans in the history of the nation; and to empower Asian Pacific American communities by increasing their sense of inclusion in the national culture. For more information visit www.apa.si.edu.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at www.sites.si.edu.

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and American heritage and community life. The Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. For more information, visit www.community.ford.com.

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Exhibition Specifications

Tour Itinerary

Exhibition Images

Exhibition Prospectus

Related Publications

Press Release

Exhibition Video Snippet


If you like this exhibition, you might also like:

I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story

American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music (Archives)

Becoming American, Teenagers and Immigration (Archives)

More Exhibitions from SITES


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