The Smithsonian comes to CUNYDSI: Cultivating an Ongoing Partnership.
Associate Curator for the Smithsonian National Museum of History, Stephen Velasquez met with potential donors at CUNY DSI Archives and Library on May 19, 2014, as part of the ongoing collaboration between the Museum and the Institute.
“My job is to build a collection that tells the story of the Dominican experience in the United States,” said Velasquez. “My part is focusing on the stories from the post war ear, around the late 60’s to present day and I have to say that it has been a humbling experience meeting people and listening to their stories,” added Velasquez.
The Dominican experience is just one piece of an exhibit called “Our American Journey,” that will depict the stories of how people have come through all four borders: the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the boundaries with Canada and Mexico into the United States creating the America we know and live in today.
The collaboration between CUNY DSI and the Smithsonian consist of helping in the collection of memorabilia or objects that reflect the cultural identity and historical legacy of the Dominican people in the United States and in building a relationship between the Museum and the Dominican community.
Velasquez said that there are many variables involved when it comes to collecting and selecting items for the exhibit. “We have been collecting a lot of different things from photos, albums, videos, clothing and personal stories,” said Velasquez. “And in the process we are building up an amazing network of people along the way especially working with CUNY DSI,” added Velasquez.
Leading the partnership between the Institute and the Smithsonian is CUNY DSI Chief Librarian Sarah Aponte, Chief Archivist Idilio Gracia Peña and Library staffer Jhensen Oritz, who has been the CUNY DSI liaison to the Smithsonian having worked in Washington D.C. at the museum for two summers in a row.
The exhibit “Our American Journey,” is scheduled to open in 2016 at the Smithsonian National Museum of History in Washington D.C.