MUSEUM: Bring your favorite dish and celebrate museum milestones

Posted on September 17th, 2009 by americanindiannews in Past News

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian asks supporters to host a potluck in honor of its 20th anniversary.

Washington, D.C.—On Sept. 21, 2004, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian opened with events that attracted over 80,000 Native and non-Native participants and witnesses.

During that week five years ago 100,000 visitors entered the museum’s doors.

As both the fifth anniversary for the museum in Washington and the twentieth anniversary of the legislation that established the museum approaches, the museum is hoping that everyone—even those who can’t come to Washington—will join in the celebration.

So the museum proposes that people hold potlucks to raise awareness and funds in support of museum programs. The target date for the potlucks is November 28th, which is National Native American Heritage Day.

In 2009, the museum marks not only the fifth anniversary of the stunning structure in Washington, and also the 20th anniversary of the legislation that established the museum; but also the 15th anniversary of the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian in lower Manhattan; and the 10th anniversary of the Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, Md.

“The idea of the virtual potluck grew out of a lively discussion with the museum’s board of trustees last fall,” said Maggie Bertin, associate director for the museum’s office of museum resources. “We were discussing organizing the anniversary gala in Washington, D.C., and I asked our board how we might better engage our members and friends in Indian Country who could not join us physically in Washington at the gala.”

Lucille Echohawk, who is Pawnee and a trustee, suggested that the museum could host a nationwide fundraiser the way some organizations like the American Red Cross do, bringing fundraising to the local level, in homes and community centers across the country.

Museum staff expanded the idea by developing a website which will debut in September and allow people to create their own virtual potluck webpage. From there, people will be able to express what the museum means to them, and even email family and friends inviting them to attend their potluck and make a donation.

Or people could hold parties in their homes, their offices, their tribal centers, their churches or their classrooms.

“We want people to be creative,” said Inger de Montecinos, the museum’s membership program coordinator. “The point of it is to bring the National Museum of the American Indian community out everywhere so people can gather together and celebrate the anniversaries.”

Watch for details in the American Indian News Service or at the museum’s website,www.AmericanIndian.si.edu.

By Kara Briggs
American Indian News Service

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