Arab-Americans receive more suspicion and misunderstanding than most social groups. These misconceptions give the Arab American National Museum an important job: sharing the stories of Arab Americans.
Located in Dearborn, the museum opened in 2005, and although it has only been around for little more than a decade, it has been chosen as an affiliate of the Smithsonian.
Devon Akmon is the executive director of the museum. He joined Stateside to talk about the museum’s goals and its importance in the contemporary world.
One of the museum’s most important missions is to counter xenophobia. “What we continuously try to do is just tell an accurate depiction of our community,” Akmon said.
In the next decade the museum hopes to play a role in the changes taking place in southeast Michigan.
“We’re looking at the changes in southeast Michigan and we’re asking ourselves, ‘how do we play a role in that as a cultural institution?’” Akmon said. “And for us, it’s really about putting the Arab-American story in context with the greater American narrative.”
Devon Akmon is the executive director of the Arab American National Museum.