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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Virginia Tech Student Designs Washington, DC National Museum of the American Ethnic People

Virginia Tech Student Designs Washington, DC National Museum of the American Ethnic People

Washington, DC -- A Virginia Tech architecture student, Krystyn Haecker, earned her Master of Architecture degree for designing the National Museum of the American People at a prominent overlook site near the National Mall in Washington, DC.

The museum, which is being proposed by a coalition of more than 150 diverse ethnic and minority organizations, would tell the immigration and migration story of all American ethnic groups from the prehistoric period to the present, and about their accomplishments. The coalition is asking the President and Congress to support creating a commission to study establishment of the museum.
 
Ms. Haecker said she chose to design the proposed museum at what is called the Banneker Overlook site to show how a major cultural institution attracting large numbers of diverse people can also help unify a disparate segment of an urban community. Her thesis is titled E Pluribus Unum: A Study of Reconnecting a Broken Urban Fabric.
 
Ms. Haecker is the second architect to design the American People Museum. The Arlington, Virginia firm MTFA Architecture submitted its conception of what the museum could look like at the Banneker site in 2011. Details about both designs are at the coalition's website, http://www.nmap2015.com.
 
Design by MTFA
Design by MTFA
Rep. Jim Moran, D-VA, lead sponsor of a bipartisan American People Museum resolution in the House, praised Virginia Tech and Ms. Haecker and said that "the museum will shine a light on our nation's diverse heritages and ethnicities, and the spirit enshrined in our original national motto, e pluribus unum, from many one. America's rich tapestry of peoples from throughout the world is what distinguishes us as Americans. It also helps guarantee our future success as a nation. It is incumbent on all of us to learn about all of our heritages and to celebrate them."  
 
So far, the bipartisan leaders of 20 ethnic and minority congressional caucuses are cosponsoring the museum's resolution, H. Con. Res. 27.  
 
Coalition director Sam Eskenazi noted that "people from every ethnic, nationality and minority group will visit the museum to view their own story and will then learn about every other group's story." He called the tale of people coming from every corner of the world, crossing oceans and continents to begin new lives, "one of the most compelling stories in human history."  
 
He emphasized that the coalition is not seeking federal appropriations to plan, build or operate the museum. Mr. Eskenazi called the museum our nation's most important cultural institution not yet built.

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