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Diversity and American history

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., has opened a new exhibit, “American Stories,” that features artifacts from the time of the pilgrims to the 2008 presidential election. What is so different about this exhibit is that it includes pop culture items as well as other objects in a history timeline that highlights the diversity of our nation.

“We’re so getting away from the time when history was all about white men on horses,” Marc Pachter, museum interim director, told the Associated Press in a story about the museum opening.

One item on exhibit, a QuinceaƱera gown donated by a Chicago resident who wore the dress for her 15th birthday, illustrates how the museum intends to tell American stories by artifacts that mean or meant something to those who handled or owned them. The AP article notes that the QuinceaƱera gown was donated to add a piece of Latina history to the exhibit.

This exhibit is a great reminder of how diverse our nation is, and how important it is to document our own family history. Everyone has a story to tell - newspapers print them every day.

If you were going to donate one artifact to this exhibit from your family’s history to tell your American story, what would it be?

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