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First Palestinian Museum in Washington D.C. Opens its Doors
Washington D.C., June 7th, 2019
— The Museum of the Palestinian People (MPP), the first museum in Washington D.C. devoted to celebrating Palestinian history, arts and culture, will open its doors on June 15, 2019.
Guided by the motto “Many Stories, One Heart”, the Museum of the Palestinian People will share stories of the Palestinian people through historic artifacts, personal narratives and other forms of artistic expression. It will connect Palestinians throughout the diaspora to evoke pride in Palestinian arts and culture. The museum is also partnering with other organizations to reach broader audiences committed to its vision of a world without borders. The museum was founded by Bshara Nassar, a Palestinian from Bethlehem who now lives in Washington D.C. and has been supported over the last four years by thousands of American, Jewish, Palestinian and other international donors. Nassar says, “When I first moved to Washington in 2011, there was simply no place to hear or see the stories of Palestinians. For too long our stories have been told by others, who portray us in often-negative stereotypes. We want to share with the world who Palestinians truly are.”
The museum has its roots in a traveling exhibit that visited over 50 locations across the country beginning in 2015. It has now found a home in the heart of Washington DC.
The museum’s opening exhibition, Re-Imagining A Future features a diverse display of artwork by Palestinian artists from the United States, Canada, the West Bank, Gaza and Israel. The exhibit includes pieces of music, paintings, collages and surreal work by artists Ahmed Hmeedat, Manal Deeb, Mohammad Mussalam, Dalia Elcharbini, and Haya Zaatry. The works were inspired by a survey that MPP released and received hundreds of responses from Palestinians throughout the diaspora. The inaugural exhibition invite visitors to explore a new imagination of a future for Palestine and the Palestinian people, casting a sense of hope and possibility that has been largely missing from contemporary Palestinian art. It is as an act of imaginative courage and creative resistance.
The permanent exhibition, curated by Nada Odeh, details the history and culture of the Palestinian People in four sections; “A Remarkable people”, “Nakba and the Diaspora”, “Occupation”, and “A Resilient People”. Through artifacts, historical documents, textiles and other cultural objects, the display traces a story through historical Palestine and the displacement of Palestinians from their homeland, to the realities of life under occupation and their resilience in the face of adversity. It concludes with a wall of fame titled, “Making their Mark”, featuring notable Palestinian scholars, historians, writers, feminists, entrepreneurs, poets, and comedians who have influenced the world.
The museum floor features traditional Palestinian design with Jerusalem Stone bringing the warmth and memory of Palestine for visitors to experience in Washington, DC. In addition to exhibitions, MPP will also offer workshops and events throughout the year featuring Palestinian culture, cuisine and performance arts.
According to Ari Roth, Founding Artistic Director of Mosaic Theater Company of DC and its long-running Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival. “All of us who value the quest for peace and justice in Israel/Palestine, salute the opening of the Museum of the Palestinian People as a gathering place to humanize history and the headlines that emanate from that region. In Mosaic’s many partnerships with MPP we have been sensitized by the fledgling Museum’s curation of cultural assets and skillful teachings in making audiences aware of Palestinian culture, art and history. We salute the official opening of this museum. Its emphasis will be on people – and peoplehood –– less a place of political proclamation and more a space for sowing seeds of transformed perception and empathic connection. ” . . .
The Museum of the Palestinian People is located at 1900 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009. Its grand opening is on Saturday, June 15th from 2pm to 3pm. A limited number of free tickets are available to the public for the opening weekend from 3-7pm on June 15th and 12-6pm on June 16th through Eventbrite.
Beginning, June 20, the museum will be open from 12pm to 6pm, Thursday to Saturday. Groups of 10 or more that are interested in visiting the museum at other times should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the museum website for more information. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.