On the National Museum of the American Peopleby Former Representative James P. Moran
Posted on 2013-03-19
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Mr. MORAN. Mr. Speaker, as a proud Irish American, I was pleased this
past Sunday to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Celebrating our heritage
today has become an American tradition that extends beyond those
Americans of Irish heritage. But that wasn't always the case. For many
years, Irish Americans faced discrimination and struggled to gain
acceptance and economic stability in the great melting pot that is
The story of Irish Americans and all Americans needs to be told. We are a nation of immigrants. But there is no place today where one can go to learn the full story of who we are as a nation and the stories of the many, vibrant ethnicities that make up the fabric of the American experience. The story about the making of the American People--of all of the people--is missing and it needs to be told in the heart of our nation's capital.
That's why I am introducing a bipartisan resolution that calls for a Presidential Commission to study the establishment of the National Museum of the American People. I am joined in effort by my colleagues John Duncan, Carolyn Maloney, Charlie Rangel, Frank Wolf, Gerald Connolly, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Bobby Scott, David Cicilline, Tim Walz, Tim Bishop, Tom Cole and Jim Gerlach.
A commission is the first critical step in the path toward the creation of a national museum that will highlight the diversity and richness of the cultures from which our ancestors came and will foster a sense of belonging to the nation by the waves of people who made us the leading economic, military, scientific, and cultural force in the world. The Museum's central theme takes its inspiration from our original national motto: ``E Pluribus Unum''--From Many We Are One.
The Museum will be America's only national institution devoted exclusively to telling the full story of how the world's pioneers interwove their diverse races, religions, and ethnicities into the strongest societal fabric ever known to modern mankind. Both Canada and Mexico have major national museums in their capitals telling the story of their peoples and they are the most visited museums in those nations. People from every ethnic and minority group will come to see their own story and learn how they joined together with ``the others'' in pursuit of a more noble national purpose. Foreign visitors will come to learn how natives of their countries helped create our nation.
I fully understand the current fiscal realities of the day. This proposal will involve no authorization of federal funds and will not require the need for any taxpayer money. It does, however, already enjoy broad support having been endorsed by more than 150 organizations representing virtually every major ethnic and nationality group in the nation.
For the different groups who became Americans, the Museum will tell who, where, when, why and how transformed our nation. Today's technology makes all of this possible.
The Museum of the American People will be like walking though a dramatic documentary delving into these grand movements of peoples. It will follow in the tradition of some of today's most successful story- telling museums such as the Holocaust Memorial Museum. The goal will be to tell our peoples' compelling story with force and clarity.
In telling everyone's story, the National Museum of the American People would recognize the important differences that set us apart while celebrating the common purpose that has brought us together--E Pluribus Unum.
I encouraged my colleagues to support this measure.