Celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month
Come celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month at the Windsor Branch Library by experiencing the I Want the Wide American Earth Poster Exhibit at the Windsor Branch Library during the month of May. This special exhibit was created and provided by the Smithsonian.
Asian and Pacific Americans make up more than 5% of the U.S. population, over 17 million people—and those numbers are growing. Their ancestral roots represent over 50% of the world, extending from East Asia to Southeast Asia, and from South Asia to the Pacific Islands and Polynesia.
In the first exhibition of its kind, the Smithsonian celebrates Asian Pacific American history across this multitude of incredibly diverse cultures, and explores how Asian Pacific Americans have shaped and been shaped by the course of our nation’s history. Rich with compelling, often surprising stories, the exhibition takes a sweeping look at this history, from the very first Asian immigrants to the influx of highly skilled workers many decades later.
The exhibition charts the beginnings of Asians in America, from the idea of Asia first motivating Christopher Columbus’ trans-Atlantic voyage of discovery in 1492 to the arrival of Asian laborers all along the Gulf Coast and Eastern American seaboard throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. From there, the exhibition tells the rich and complex stories of early Asian immigrants finding homes and participating in key moments in American history. Asian immigrants panned in the Gold Rush, hammered ties in the Transcontinental Railroad, and fought on both sides in the Civil War. And, on plantations in Hawai`i and farms in California, they helped build the nation’s agricultural system.
Through the decades, Asian immigrants struggled against legal exclusion, civil rights violations, and unlawful detention, such as the 120,000 Japanese who were interned during WWII. Since the 1960s, vibrant new communities, pan-Asian, Pacific Islander, and cross-cultural in make-up, have blossomed. Asian Americans enrich the cultural life of the nation, and continue to help write the remarkable story of America.
I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story was created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. The exhibition is supported by a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.