Core Galleries

A tiled Community Courtyard with a soaring dome welcomes guests to the Museum, its walls lined with exhibits on the history, arts and scientific achievements of the Arab world in past time. The Second Floor houses our Core Galleries that are designed for guests to explore and learn about Arab immigration to America, Arab American life and the contributions Arab Americans have made over time. An interactive map of North Africa and South West Asia highlighting the 22 Arab countries serves as a segue between the Courtyard and Second Floor, and art from our collection is on view in the Lower Level Gallery.


Our Coming To America gallery showcases the hundreds of years that Arabs have been coming to the United States. Take a journey alongside the first significant number of immigrants who came seeking better opportunities between 1880 and 1920, followed by the drastic slowdown due to restrictive immigration laws passed after World War I and continuing until today, where the number of Arab Americans has increased rapidly since the 1970s due to a change in these laws as well as wars and economic hardships in some Arab countries. Featured objects on display include Sara Abdallah’s beaded shoes (c. 1923) and Ahmad Ibrahim’s Palestinian stone (c. 1948).


Living In America showcases the many ways that Arab Americans have been an integral part of the history of the United States since its early days. Beginning with early immigrants working as peddlers, grocery store owners and manual laborers, Arab Americans have lived in large cities and small towns in every state contributing greatly to the framework of this country. This gallery also covers the incredible diversity of Arab Americans, which includes variations in location, economic class and knowledge of the Arabic and English languages. Featured objects on display include a cash register from Zainea Market (c. 1920) and Haggar office furniture. 


This highly interactive gallery tells the story of hundreds of Arab Americans and organizations whose contributions have influenced our way of life. Making An Impact recognizes the leadership of Arab American politicians and activists; celebrates the achievements of Arab American athletes; and honors the contributions of Arab American physicians, labor leaders and entertainers. Featured individuals include world-renowned surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey, consumer advocate and presidential candidate Ralph Nader, White House journalist Helen Thomas and auto racing legend Bobby Rahal. Items on display include the M*A*S*H* finale script, Edward Said’s glasses and Helen Thomas’ typewriter. 


Our Community Courtyard houses thousands of years of Arab history. Titled Arab Civilization: Our Heritage, this gallery highlights the area known today as the Arab world, the birthplace of some of the earliest and most significant civilizations including the Egyptian Kingdom of the Pharaohs, established in the 3100 B.C.E. Glass cases adorn each of the Courtyard’s walls detailing an incredible number of Arab contributions to culture, religion, architecture, art, music, dance, science and more.


AANM is proud to present art from our core collection in this gallery on a rotating basis. Artists of Arab descent work in all mediums and cover a wide range of subject matter. Our continuously growing collection reflects this wonderful diversity. Past featured artists include Samia Halaby and Sari Khoury.

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