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History of Indian Americans: ‘Beyond Bollywood’ opens Feb 27

Beyond Bollywood - Sharma Family in San Francisco
Beyond Bollywood - Sharma Family in San Francisco
© Prithvi Sharma

Over 200 years of Indian American influences will recount their significant impact on our already a very diverse culture. Indian Americans lived here from colonial America times and its’ vast immigration from India beginning in the 1700s to our present time.

“Beyond Bollywood” exhibition is a visually documented collection of photographs, artifacts, art pieces, and interactive learning stations. The curating was by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center using a 5000 square-foot space provided on the 2nd floor, of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

“The vibrant life, culture and history of immigrants from India and Indian Americans are the story of America,” said Konrad Ng, director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

“This wonderful exhibition deepens our understanding of the American experience as lived by the Asian Pacific American communities who have journeyed from being exotic outsiders to being the faces and voices of the future. We are excited to present an exhibition we hope will excite and inspire generations.”

This exhibit authenticates those Indian American migration experiences, work ethic, political struggles and a transcontinental cultural shock to lack of understanding some Americans practices.

Public family programs incorporate performances presenting Indian American art, comedy, cuisine, dance, film, television, literature and music. The Center will also offer online education curriculum and an opportunity for museum visitors to share their family stories online from a computer lab.

What seems to surprise most people in the U.S. is the huge amount of Indian Americans; hence, one in every 100 Americans has a family connection to India. Indian immigrants have worked in every facet of American life such as this nation’s railroads, lumber mills, farming and a long list of Indian professionals.

After being on display for a year, “Beyond Bollywood” will be on tour around the country’s’ museums, libraries, universities and community centers as a part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service beginning May 2015 for five years.

For more information on the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center, visit here

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