Beyond Bollywood: 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions

06 Aug

Click to download PDF flyer

A Message from Curator Masum Momaya

Warm summer greetings! One year into my role as Curator of the Indian American Heritage Project and less than five months away from the opening of Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation exhibition, I wanted to share the five questions most frequently asked of me.

1. Will this exhibition contain art and artifacts from India?

Beyond Bollywood focuses on the experience of Indian immigrants and Indian Americans in the United States; all of the art and artifacts represent life here. The exhibition will contain art works by a dozen artists of Indian origin living and working here in America and artifacts which are significant to our history as Indian Americans, including the turban of Balbir Singh Sodhi, a doctor bag used by Abraham Verghese and the Olympic silver medal of Mohini Bhardwaj.

2. Is [fill in the name of a person] in the exhibition?

Maybe – but as part of a larger story of our communities.  I, as curator, have chosen to tell our larger story of the diverse contributions of Indian immigrants and Indian Americans to shaping American history – culturally, politically and professionally. Our contributions here are larger than any one individual, and I feel a responsibility to use the amazing platform that the Smithsonian is to tell this story in a nuanced, visually compelling way.

3. I have this precious and rare [fill in the name of an object] in my basement.  Can this be in the exhibition?

We are finished collecting items for the exhibition.  In fact, both the script and design for the exhibition are complete; all the components are being fabricated.  If you have something precious and rare that you would like the Smithsonian to consider including in its collection or future exhibitions, please email me at, and I will try to put you in touch with the appropriate person.

4. How much does the Indian American Heritage Project cost and who is paying for this?

The total cost of the Project’s Phase 1 (research, the exhibition, public programs, a traveling exhibition, a curriculum and a website) is $1 million.  The revenue sources for this Project are derived from a public-private partnership which includes a significant amount of leadership and support from the Smithsonian Institution.

Earlier this summer we announced there was $200,000 left to raise by the end of 2013.  Readers like you heard the call and we raised $99,000 or roughly 50% of our remaining goal.

Help us raise the last $101,000! Gifts of $2,500 and up made by September 30th will be recognized as Founder’s Circle Members. To make your tax-deductible gift, please visit:

5. What if I cannot come to Washington DC to see the exhibition?

Don’t worry!  In addition to showing at the Smithsonian, a version of Beyond Bollywood will be traveling around the country from 2015-2020, hopefully to your city.  If you would like more information or to help us identify a venue in your locality to host it, please email me at


2 responses to “Beyond Bollywood: 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions

  1. geneva jones

    August 7, 2013 at 9:28 am

    I would like to see a lecture, debate, etc. on how various Indians,from different regions in India (or Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka) get along here in the us. with emphasis on caste, race, & economics. And how they view living in such a diverse area with other groups, Af-Americans, Latinos, and other Asians.
    I am a long time student and an appreciator of India and its culture that I have been exposed to and I am a 68 year old African-American woman.
    Thank you for always educating us.

  2. Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

    August 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you for your comment and request. We’ll be exploring intracommunity and intercommunity relations in our upcoming exhibition, “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation,” opening late this year at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. We hope you can come see it and let us know what you think. Sincerely, Masum Momaya, Curator


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: