July 6, 2011; Source: New York Times | How many museums devoted to individual ethnic groups can fit on the National Mall in Washington D.C.? According to Representative James P. Moran, a Virginia Democrat, too many, based on current plans.
What the New York Times describes as a “possible antidote” to the proliferation of ethnic museums in the nation’s capital, the congressman is proposing the creation of a National Museum of the American People. The Times reports that Moran’s proposal “would reduce the pressure to create museums for different ethnic groups, like the National Museum of African American History and Culture, expected to open in 2015, and the proposed National Museum of the American Latino.”
Moran says that a single museum that celebrates the contribution of all immigrants to America — including those who arrived on the Mayflower — is needed to “show all the American people how all the various threads of ethnicities and races and religions came together.”
The idea for the museum is credited to Sam Eskenazi, a former federal employee, who says has the backing of 140 different ethnic-identity and immigrant groups, as well as the Daughters of the American Revolution.—Bruce S. Trachtenberg