About the Arab American National Museum

The Arab American National Museum (AANM) is the first and only museum of its kind in the United States devoted to recording the Arab American experience. Since opening in 2005, AANM’s mission has been to document, preserve and present the history, culture and contributions of Arab Americans. Our exhibitions cover the Arab world and the history of Arab Americans from the first immigrants who arrived in the late 19th century to today. We offer safe spaces for open dialogue and community gatherings and provide educational opportunities for children and students of all ages to expand their knowledge and appreciation of Arab American history and culture. We work with established and emerging artists of all artistic mediums to uplift their work and share it with our regional and national audiences. All of this is intended to build community through the arts by showcasing our nation’s cultural diversity in thoughtful and impacting ways. 

AANM has one of the most extensive archives of Arab American historical documents, oral histories and artifacts. We are the only museum in the country that actively collects Arab American art. The Annex @ AANM, a multi-purpose space and a symbol of the Museum’s growing engagement with the community, opened in 2015.


The Arab American National Museum documents, preserves and presents the history, culture and contributions of Arab Americans.


Our commitment to community began with our founding in 2005, and since then, we have used the arts as a tool for engaging it. Hundreds of thousands of visitors—both locally and nationally—have enjoyed programming that is responsive to and reflective of the diverse Arab American community. Much of our efforts have transcended the Museum walls, with guests being taken through the doors of local Arab-owned businesses and down the streets of historically Arab American neighborhoods.


In alignment with AANM’s commitment to creating an arts sector rooted in justice, we are committed to ensuring a space that is free of racism, transphobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, ableism, misogyny, classism or other biases. Our expectation is that all visitors will honor these ethics. 

This statement has been graciously shared by the National Performance Network, of which AANM is a partner.


The Arab American National Museum sits on Anishinaabe land and is located in the region with the highest concentration of Arab Americans in the nation. We also acknowledge our neighboring city, Detroit, as Anishinaabe territory and other Indigenous peoples’ land, as well as being the largest majority Black city in the nation with a long legacy of African Diasporic contributions. We uplift the larger ethnic and racial fabric of our metro Detroit community.

For more information on native lands, visit www.native-land.ca


  • 2005: The Arab American National Museum is founded by Museum parent ACCESS and New Detroit Inc. in 1993, the diversity-themed Concert of Colors became an AANM production.
  • 2008: First Lady Laura Bush and Caren Prothro of the President’s Council on the Arts and Humanities present a Coming Up Trailer Award to SURA photographer Camille Charara and former AANM Assistant Director Celine Taminian.
  • 2011: Patriots & Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to Our Country is the first of several original AANM exhibitions to travel the nation.
  • 2014: Patriots & Peacemakers is presented at the Russell Senate Office Building and the U.S. Diplomacy Center both in Washington, D.C.
  • 2014: SURA Arts Academy photographers visited Detroit’s Recycle Here! during the program’s 2014 Summer Camp.
  • 2014: The engaging Yalla Eat! culinary walking tours launch in the fall, offering visitors a guided excursion into Arab American cuisine and history at Detroit’s Eastern Market and on Warren Avenue at East Dearborn.
  • 2015: AANM celebrates its 10th anniversary with a ribbon-cutting in its new 4,700-square-foot addition, the Annex.
  • 2015: The newly named Russell J. Ebeid Library & Resource Center at AANM honors the businessman and philanthropist whose planned gift was the single largest to date in the history of AANM parent organization ACCESS on November 15, 2014.
  • 2016: AANM’s Little Syria, NY: An Immigrant Community’s Life & Legacy exhibition opens on Oct. 1 at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration and runs through Jan. 9, 2017.
  • 2017: The Arab American National Museum is named a TAKREEM Laureate and is honored with the prestigious initiative’s Cultural Excellence Award.
  • 2019: What We Carried: Fragments & Memories from Iraq & Syria opens on May 25 at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration and runs through Sept. 2.
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