"There's no question in my mind we can do it"
Asian Americans are pushing for their very own Smithsonian gallery
ABC reports that Asian Americans are pushing for a Smithsonian gallery of their own.
The Smithsonian Institution is a group of museums administered by the US government, which exhibits and celebrates different cultures in America.
In 2004, the Smithsonian opened National Museum of the American Indian and in 2016 the National Museum of African American History and Culture was opened.
Now, Asian Americans are pushing for their own Smithsonian representation with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center launching a $25 million fundraising drive. The group is pushing for a permanent gallery space on the National Mall in Washington.
“The ability to have that visibility and recognition is so important,” said the center’s director Lisa Sasaki, the center’s director. “There has never been a dedicated space where the public could consistently visit and find out about the history and culture of Asian Americans.”
“Museums preserve what’s important to society. They tell our stories, give historical context to contemporary issues and help us imagine a better future,” she emphasised.
Franklin Odo, director at the time of the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American program until 2010, said Asian Americans had to rely on other institutions for their own exhibitions.
“Whenever we needed to do a public lecture or exhibit, I had to go beg one of these other institutions to lend a space,” Odo said. “We had to really convince our colleagues that this was a field, this was a demographic … that needed to be recognized and needed to be held with some respect.”
Odo said he is confident that the group can achieve their goal. “We have lots of people with immense means, so there’s no question in my mind we can do it,” he said.
In related news, Constance Wu‘s wedding dress from Crazy Rich Asians was recently donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington.