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Sen. Schatz Proposes White House Commission To Explore National Story-Telling Museum About the Making of the American People


Sen. Brian Schatz, D-HI, this week introduced legislation proposing a new national museum to tell the story about the making of the American People. The museum’s dramatic story begins with the first humans in the Western Hemisphere and proceeds through today.

It will celebrate all who became Americans, whether they or their ancestors came from Europe, Africa, Asia and Pacific Islands or the Americas, including Native Americans, Hawaiians and Alaskans.

Sen. Schatz’ bill (S.2077) calls for a 32-member bipartisan White House commission to study establishment of the National Museum of the American People. Commission members would be chosen by the President and both majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate.

“The story of America is a story about immigration. For generations, people from around the world and from all walks of life have come to the United States to build better lives for themselves and for their families,” said Sen. Schatz.

The proposed museum would be the first of its kind to tell the immigration stories of every American and celebrate the contributions of every ethnic and cultural group in the country, according to Sen. Schatz. It would provide a venue to unite the diverse stories that connect us as Americans. The museum will offer a unique narrative regarding the people and communities that have helped forge who we are today; and, highlight the links that bind together past, present and future generations.

Sam Eskenazi, leader of the effort to build the museum, said “It’s time our nation told its full story. The museum will endeavor to be one of the most powerful story-telling museums anywhere. I believe that it will be a salve to help the nation heal its divisive wounds.”

“The NMAP will foster a sense of belonging for all Americans as it recounts one of the most amazing stories in human history,” Eskenazi said. “It will embody our original national motto: E Pluribus Unum – From Many We Are One.

“The museum will show how the United States was founded and built by people from everywhere on our planet who contributed to making this country the economic, military, scientific and cultural leader of the world.”

The NMAP will “demonstrate the dynamic nature of our nation’s founding documents, how they play a central role in shaping the American character in all of its diversity, and how they will help future generations maintain and enhance our national ideals,” Eskenazi said.

The museum will tell its story in four chapters:

1. First Peoples Come – 20,000 years ago (est.)-1607

2. The Nation Takes Form – 1607-1820

3. The Great In-gathering – 1820-1924

4. And Still They Come – 1924-2024

Support for the museums comes from 250 organizations representing more than six dozen different ethnic, national and minority groups. There are also 19 national immigration and refugee organizations that support the NMAP.

S.2077 would authorize $3 million for the Commission. The Commission will have six months after its first meeting to complete its final report to the President and Congress. Sen. Schatz introduced the bill on June 16.

Besides the museum’s powerful scholarly-based permanent exhibition, other museum components could include a Center for the Advanced Study of the American People, a National Genealogical and Genome Center, a National American People Education Resource Center and extensive traveling exhibitions, collections and public programs.


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