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Arab American National Museum Reopens

The Arab American National Museum is currently the only museum in the United States dedicated to telling the story of Arab American history and culture. And it is reopening to support a strong message of tolerance.

Founded in 2005, the Arabo-American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, is reopening its doors to visitors after a two-year closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city of Dearborn was not chosen at random. It is home to the largest Arab community in the country. Indeed, nearly 40% of the population is of Lebanese, Syrian, Yemeni, Iraqi or Palestinian origin. The creation of the museum thus essentially fulfills an educational function of fighting against discrimination and stigmatization.

“It’s really a museum about Arab-Americans, by Arab-Americans, and for everyone,” explains Diana Abouali, director of the AANM since 2019. A native of Palestine herself, Diana Abouali says she has felt a noticeable shift, not only in the way Arab-Americans are perceived, but also a rise in the level of interest in the diverse origins of their community.


Photography exhibited in the AANM.

Recounting a History True to the Arab American Community

The museum is adorned with a design and architectural aesthetic true to the Middle East and North African regions. Through its thematic galleries, the AANM showcases the diverse contributions of Arab populations to humanity, and explores the challenges of immigration from their arrival in America to their integration. Its exhibits tell the stories of celebrities such as Lebanese Ruth Joyce Essad, one of Detroit’s first fashion designers who dressed singers, as well as everyday individuals such as entrepreneurs, military personnel, and artists.

The AANM also has a rich archive of images and objects of historical value, collected directly from the Arab diaspora. These include the vintage typewriter of Helen Thomas, the legendary Lebanese-American journalist who participated in White House press conferences from the presidency of John F. Kennedy to that of Barack Obama, and a 1964 press release written by civil rights activist Malcolm X.


The vintage typewriter of Helen Thomas.

A community inherent in the American nation

The arrival of Joe Biden as president of the United States has also given a boost to the Arab community in the country. The Democratic president instituted National Arab American Heritage Month, which will now be held annually in April. “The Arab-American community is essential to the fabric of our nation,” he wrote in a congratulatory letter.

Published on 18 February 2022

#Arab world


#United States