Crafts, Event, Family, Literary, Performance

Volunteer for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2013

Handmade storybook activity. Photo taken during the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Family Day 2011.

We are looking for volunteers who will be in the Washington, D.C. metro area on the weekend of May 4-5 to help with our upcoming two-day Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Family Festival. The festival is inspired by two new exhibitions: I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story and Nam Jun Paik: Global Visionary. This two-day kid-friendly event includes interactive performances, hands-on activities, presentations by local authors, conversations with a curator, gallery tours, a scavenger hunt, and much more.

Click here to view the full schedule
Click here to download the flyer (PDF)

Examples of tasks we need help with on May 4:

  • Talking to the public about their experiences during the festival and using a new evaluation system with iPads
  • Handmade book projects (view photos)
  • Video recording children and participants sharing their handmade books
  • Monitoring a video presentation station

If you think you would like to help out on either day, please contact Lydia Alcock at AlcockL@si.edu as soon as possible.  Please also feel free to forward this page to friends, family, and colleagues who may be interested in helping out.

May 4, 2013

I Want the Wide American Earth
Volunteer Orientation: 10:30am
Event: 11:30am – 4pm
Location: National Museum of American History
Address: 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Metro: Smithsonian, Federal Triangle
Website: http://apa.si.edu/heritage/

May 5, 2013

PaikBot Family Day
Volunteer Orientation: 10:30am
Event: 11:30am – 5pm
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Kogod Courtyard
Address: 8th and F Streets, NW
Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown
Website: Click here

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Event, Family, General APA

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2013

Click to visit our mini-site

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month recognizes the history, concerns, contributions and achievements of Asian Pacific Americans and their role in the American story. While the Asian Pacific American experience reaches across borders and spans oceans, with roots in the Asian continent and archipelagos across the Pacific Ocean, the Asian Pacific American story reflects the American spirit. Like so many other communities in America, Asian Pacific Americans worked to expand frontiers, forging the iron rails that linked sea to shining sea. They shed blood to defend the nation and stood up to preserve its cherished values, in classrooms and courtrooms, in legislatures and in the streets.

This quintessentially American story—the story that the Smithsonian seeks to tell—has yet to be fully told.

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center has selected the title of a poem by Filipino American writer Carlos Bulosan (1913–1956) as the theme for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2013. Born after the end of the Philippine-American War (1899–1902), when the relationship between the Philippines and the United States remained uncertain, Bulosan came to America in search of opportunity. But, like most Asian Pacific Americans of his time, Bulosan’s life in America was defined by hardship and discrimination. In spite of this experience, however, Bulosan continued to believe in America as a powerful symbol of freedom for the world. Bulosan’s poem, I Want the Wide American Earth, captures how the Asian Pacific American experience is aspirational—in spite of the challenges that define a particular era, generations of Asian Pacific Americans have remained steadfast in their belief in America.

As Bulosan so eloquently writes:

“Before the brave, before the proud builders and workers,
I say I want the wide American earth
For all the free.
I want the wide American earth for my people.
I want my beautiful land.
I want it with my rippling strength and tenderness
Of love and light and truth
For all the free.”

For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2013, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center is proud to open the exhibition, I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story, at the National Museum of American History on May 4, 2013. Taking Bulosan’s poem as inspiration, this exhibition tells the stories of the brave, the proud builders and workers of Asian Pacific America. The exhibition will then travel to museums and cultural institutions across the country.

The Smithsonian Institution will celebrate I Want the Wide American Earth and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with the annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Family Festival on May 4, 2013.

Please join us in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2013.

I Want the Wide American Earth exhibition was made possibly by a generous grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and is a collaborative initiative with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). Click here for information about the national tour of the exhibition.

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Event, Family, Film, Performance

Event – Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings

Monday, December 3, 2012
6:30 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.

Rasmuson Theater
National Museum of the American Indian
4th and Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20560
Google Map

Closest Metro: L’Enfant Plaza

Free and open to the public

Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings is a compelling portrait of an inspiring and inventive musician whose virtuoso skills on the ukulele have transformed all previous notions of the instrument’s potential. Through intimate conversations with Shimabukuro, Life on Four Strings reveals the cultural and personal influences that have shaped the man and the musician. On the road from Los Angeles to New York to Japan, the film captures the solitary life on tour, the exhilaration of performance, the wonder of newfound fame, and the loneliness of separation from home and family.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura, the film will premiere on PBS in Winter 2013. The film screening will be followed by an appearance from Jake Shimabukuro and a Q&A with the audience.

Note: This event will not be webcasted or recorded.

Presented by:

  • Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center
  • Center for Asian American Media
  • Pacific Islanders in Communications

Sponsored by:

  • National Museum of the American Indian
  • Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
  • Southwest Airlines
  • DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival

Related Links:

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Art, Crafts, Event, Family, Performance

APA Heritage Month – Family Day 2012

Click to download the PDF postcard

May 6, 2012
11:30 a.m. — 3:00 p.m

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
Kogod Courtyard
8th and F Streets NW
Washington, DC 20001
Google Map

Metro: Gallery Place-Chinatown
Free and open to the public

Bring the whole family to the Smithsonian’s kickoff celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! Enjoy a fun-filled day sampling music and dance performances by local artists and engaging in challenging but child-friendly hands-on activities. This family day of activities centers on the exhibition, Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter. The Hirshhorn’s ARTLAB+ teens will be on hand to videotape interviews with interested visitors.

If you think you would like to help out at this event, please contact Lydia Alcock at alcockl@si.edu as soon as possible about volunteering. Please also feel free to forward this note to friends, family, and colleagues.

Schedule

11:45 a.m.
CYC Lion DanceLion Dance (Opening)
The Washington Chinese Youth Club (CYC) performs traditional Chinese Lion Dances at a variety of major events. Lion dance is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture in which performers mimic a lion’s movements in a lion costume.
12:00 p.m. Remarks by Konrad Ng
Konrad NgKonrad Ng is the Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, which provides vision, leadership, and support for Asian and Pacific Islander American initiatives for the Smithsonian Institution.
12:15 p.m. South Asian Dance Performance by Dhroopad
Dhroopad is an all volunteer Bengali American cultural organization in the  DC Metro area with an objective to promote rich Bengali cultural heritage and to foster arts and literature as a force that transcends social, cultural and religious barriers and instigate compassion for humanity.
1:00 p.m. Spoken Word and Poetry Performances
Simone Jacobson. Photo by Roshan Karmali.The 2013 Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) Spoken Word & Poetry Summit Artists are a gathering of spoken word artists, poets, writers, musicians, thespians, activists, organizers, and artists who convene based on the commonality of their Asian American, Asian, and/or Pacific Islander identity.
1:30 p.m. Storytelling with Mokihana
MokihanaOur storyteller, Mokihana, will share The Island-below-the-Star, by James Rumford, which tells of the adventure of five brothers and teaches Polynesian navigation skills.  Mokihana will teach the children hula motions to enhance the story and will share an original chant based on the book.
2:00 p.m. Book Reading & Signing with Sushimita Mazumdar
SushmitaSushmita Mazumdar is a D.C. area book artist, writer, and educator. She started writing stories for children when her children were little and made them into fun books by hand. Since then, she teaches art education programs for children as well as adult groups to encourage storytelling and passing on cultural heritage from one generation to the next.
2:15 p.m. Filipino American Dance Ensemble by MHC
FIlipino American PerformanceThe Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC) Filipino American Dance Ensemble is composed of talented youth and adults from various groups who trained for cultural events. The group is under the artistic direction of the Philippine Embassy’s former Cultural Officer & Attache’ Grace Valera.
2:45 p.m.
Lion Dance (Closing)
Performed by the Washington Chinese Youth Club (CYC)

 

Ongoing Activities

Ti Lei Bracelets
Ti Lei BraceletsTi leaves (lā`ī in Hawaiian) have had many uses in Hawaiian culture:  rain capes, roof waterproofing, cooking (as tin foil facsimile) and more.  Participants will learn a simple yet authentic lei-making method to make a bracelet that can be worn repeatedly by storing in the freezer.

Lion and Dragon Masks
Dragon MaskDecorate your own lion or dragon mask to celebrate the year of the dragon. The Lunar New Year is symbolized by a different animal zodiac each year, determined by a 12-year cycle. 2012 is the Year of the Dragon which is the most revered in the calendar.

Handmade Storybooks with Sushmita Mazumdar
Handmade StorybooksChildren and families can create a storybook illustrating their personal story. Sushmita Mazumdar and museum volunteers will provide directions and help.

Charcoal Drawings with Rebecca C. Adams
Charcoal DrawingsIn contemporary American culture hair type can indicate where you live, it can tell a story about your ancestors, and it can even be a form of creative self-expression.  Based on the artworks of Zhang Chun Hong in the Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter exhibit, visitors will create their own hair scroll “portraits” in charcoal to celebrate their individuality.

Clay Fortune Cookies
Clay fortune cookiesLearn how to make fortune cookies out of clay. The history of the fortune cookie dates back to Los Angeles, California. According to “Madam Chu’s Chinese Cooking School” (a book by Grace Zia Chu), George Jung invented the fortune cookie in Los Angeles, circa 1916. He either wanted to cheer up customers during WWI or entertain them while waiting for their food.

ARTLAB+
ARTLAB+ Student FilmingARTLAB+ is a digital media studio based at the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden that gives teens the opportunity to become integral members of a design team. Production teams are inviting participants to share personal stories that relate to the theme of APA Heritage Month and the Portraiture Now exhibition. The footage is compiled into a montage video by an ARTLAB+ teen video editor.

Photo BoothPhoto Booth
Bring home memories by taking free photo booth pictures with your family and friends.

Special menu available at the Courtyard Café.

Related Links:

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Art, Crafts, Event, Family, Performance

Call for Volunteers: APA Heritage Month 2012

May 6, 2012
11:30 a.m. — 3:00 p.m

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
Kogod Courtyard
8th and F Streets NW
Washington, DC 20001
Google Map

Metro: Gallery Place-Chinatown
Free admission

We are looking for volunteers to help with our upcoming Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Family Day.

This family day of activities centers on the exhibition, Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter, and includes musical and dance performances, and a range of hands-on activities about portraiture and identity. The Hirshhorn’s Artlab+ teens will be on hand to videotape interviews with interested visitors.

If you think you would like to help out at this event, please contact Lydia Alcock at alcockl@si.edu as soon as possible.  Please also feel free to forward this note to friends, family, and colleagues.

Related Links:

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Academic, Event, Family, Film, History, Japanese American, Lecture

Recap: Annual Day of Remembrance at the Smithsonian

DOR NMAH Poster

Poster design by Nigel Briggs, National Museum of American History

By Noriko Sanefuji (Curatorial Assistant) and Christine Chou (intern)

This year’s Day of Remembrance (DOR) was special for many reasons. Not only is it the 70th anniversary since the signing of Executive Order 9066, the action that led to the imprisonment of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, it was also to honor the Japanese American WWII veterans that were recently awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

The program began with a keynote speech by Secretary of Veterans Affairs General Eric Shinseki (watch the video clip above or download his speech here). He reflected on the roles of Japanese Americans who volunteered in the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service during World War II. General Shinseki recognized their merit in receiving the award and stated that their legacy shows what it means to be an American to future generations. He said:

PDF of Shinseki's Speech

Download PDF

“In all my years in the military, I can find no better, no more compelling, and no more inspiring story of what it means to be an American than the stories and battle histories of the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service. They were premiere warfighting units ranking among the very best in U.S. military history. The legacy of those who served in those units is a tradition of patriotism, loyalty, courage, honor, dedication and sacrifice that’s as old as the American Revolution. Their’s is an American story.”

General Shinseki’s keynote speech was followed by a film highlighting the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony.  Afterward, there was a panel discussion that included Grant Ichikawa, MIS veteran; Gerald Yamada, Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) president; Christine Sato-Yamazaki Chairperson, National Veteran Network; and Doug Sterner, author of Go For Broke.  The panel was moderated by Franklin Odo, former director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program. Everyone provided insights about the significance of the Congressional Gold Medal and the process of recognizing Japanese American WWII veterans.

DOR Recap

Day of Remembrance Recap

Dr. Odo began the discussion by asking the panelists: “What does the Congressional Gold Medal mean to you?”  Mr. Ichikawa recalled his experiences in the MIS and reflected on how proud he is to be a recipient of the medal.  Ms. Sato-Yamazaki expressed her feelings on how the award ceremony represented the completion of a difficult, two-year effort to obtain congressional approval for the medal.  Mr. Sterner explained how the medal was the highest honor bestowed by Congress.  According to Mr. Yamada, the award gives JAVA the chance to make the Nisei soldiers’ legacy a living story, rather than just a historic one.

Museum visitors viewed the actual Congressional Gold Medal up close during the event.  Objects made inside the barbed wire camps during WWII were also on display at a nearby education cart. Artifacts were brought out of storage for DOR, and experts were also available to answer questions from the visitors at the education carts. Representatives from the U.S. Mint were there to discuss how the medal was created.

Interns at an education cart

Interns Christine Chou (Smithsonian APA Program) and Erin Anderson (National Museum of American History) talk to a visitor at an education cart. Photo by Donald Hurlbert, NMNH

Smithsonian APA Program intern Christine Chou designed a second educational cart as an interactive way of learning about daily life in internment camps. Objects on display included typical mess hall food, tools from working life, school artifacts, leisure items (like a baseball), and craft materials used for art projects. Historical photos complimented the objects to provide a more complete picture of camp living conditions. Everyone was encouraged to pick up and touch the objects. Some of the most popular items were the medical tools, including a stethoscope, head mirror, and elbow splint, which visitors were free to try on and use.

Another popular item, the dog tags of a Japanese American World War II veteran, belonged to Grant Ichikawa, who was interned before joining the military. As visitors held his dog tags, they were told that Mr. Ichikawa was actually in the museum that day to tell people about his experiences, and it was a quietly powerful moment. For visitors and volunteers at the cart that day, having the opportunity to interact with these artifacts helped foster a deeper connection to our national history.

Related Links:

Related Blogs:

Related Podcast: History Explorer: Japanese American Internment and WWII Service
Listen to the Podcast (MP3 file)
View more photos

Curatorial assistant Noriko Sanefuji interviews Grant Ichikawa, a U.S. veteran who enlisted after being relocated to a Japanese American internment camp with his family in 1942. Allowed to join the army after a need for interpreters, Mr. Ichikawa served the country proudly. In 2011, he and other veterans were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his service.

Veteran Grant Ichikawa

Curatorial assistant Noriko Sanefuji interviews Grant Ichikawa at the National Museum of American History, February 2012.

TalkBack Board

TalkBack Board

We also utilized the National Museum of American History’s TalkBack Boards program to invite the museum visitors to post their comments.

Question:
Today the U.S. Mint will be presenting the Congressional Gold Medal to Japanese Americans to honor their service during WII. How do you think America should honor its veterans?

You can join the online conversation by clicking here.

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Event, Family, General APA, History, This Month in History

This Month in History: Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

APA Heritage Month Family Day at the Smithsonian

APA Heritage Month Family Day at the Smithsonian

From federal organizations to state departments all over the country, Americans of all backgrounds can learn about the contributions of Asian Pacific Americans to this nation. The Smithsonian Institution provides many such opportunities for education in public programs, exhibitions, and events, in addition to the various educational resources for schoolteachers available at the Smithsonian Education website.

Throughout the month of May, the Smithsonian Institution will feature many public programs, exhibitions, and events. A calendar of events can be found here.

Related Links:

The following is an official message from the Smithsonian Secretary, Wayne Clough, commemorating APA Heritage Month.

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that the Smithsonian is celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month from May 1 to 31, with more than 15 events, including films, performances, talks, tours and family programs.  I hope you will all take this opportunity to learn more about the important contributions of these Americans to our nation’s culture and history. As appropriate, supervisors may grant up to three hours of administrative leave to all staff members who wish to attend these events.

This year’s feature event is a family festival at the National Museum of American History on Saturday, May 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This day of activities centers on “Sweet & Sour,” an exhibition case that traces the evolution of Chinese food in the United States and the long history of Chinese immigration. Visitors can watch the film “Killing of a Chinese Cookie” and then join a discussion with director Derek Shimoda. Children and their families can work with book artist Sushmita Mazumdar to create a “kitchen memories” storybook and record their stories with teens from the Hirshhorn’s ARTLAB+ video production program. Admission is free and no reservations are required.

This is the third event in the Smithsonian Heritage Months 2011 series titled “Sights and Sounds of Heritage.” Participating Smithsonian units are the National Museum of American History, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Heritage Committee, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies and the Smithsonian Heritage Months Steering Committee.

Visit www.SmithsonianEducation.org/Heritage for a complete schedule of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month programming.

Many thanks to the Smithsonian Heritage Months Steering Committee and to all the units that contributed to these programs.  I hope you will join me in this annual celebration of Asian Pacific American history and cultural heritage.

Sincerely,

Wayne Clough
Secretary, Smithsonian Institution

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