National Commentary

Congressman Moran’s News Commentary: The Museum of the American People

This weekend, people across the country celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. This is one of dozens of cultural holidays where Americans recognize and celebrate heritages that make our country great.

The United States is a nation of immigrants; every American, save for Native Americans, has an ancestry that traces back to foreign lands. But there is no museum where one can go to learn the full story of who we are as a society and the stories of the many, vibrant ethnicities that make up the fabric of the American experience.

The story of the American ethnic history needs to be told in the heart of our nation’s capital. That is why I joined Representative John Duncan (R-TN) this week to re-introduce bipartisan legislation to study the establishment of a National Museum of the American People.

Specifically, the House Resolution follows the path of most of our great national cultural institutions, calling first for creation of a Presidential Commission to study the feasibility and planning of a Museum of the American People. Understanding the fiscal realities of the day, the museum will be funded entirely through private donations.

The Museum of the American People weaves together all the stories of the ethnicities that make our society diverse and strong. For the different groups who became Americans, the Museum will tell who, where, when, why and how they helped transform our nation. The Museum’s central theme takes its inspiration from our original national motto: “E Pluribus Unum” – From Many We Are One.

This proposal is supported by more than 150 organizations representing virtually every major ethnic and minority group in the nation. The museum would be a first of its kind national institution devoted exclusively to telling the full story of how America’s immigrants interwove their diverse races, religions, and ethnicities into the strongest societal fabric ever known to modern mankind.

Both of our neighbors, Mexico and Canada, have major museums in their capitals telling the stories of their people. They both start their story in the prehistoric period and they are the most visited museums in their respective nations. In our nation, people can come to learn their own story and will, at the same time, learn about all of the others. And foreign visitors will flock here to learn the role people from their nations played in America’s history.

In telling the story of the making of the American People from the prehistoric period through today, it will highlight the diversity and richness of the cultures from which our ancestors came and became the world’s economic, military, scientific and cultural leader.

In telling everyone’s story, the National Museum of the American People would recognize the differences that set us apart while celebrating the common purpose that has brought us together.