Contribute to the Dominican Heritage exhibit

October 3, 2013 3:10:25 PM PDT
A collection of Dominican Heritage will go on display at the Smithsonian and you have a chance to contribute.

It's part of a project underway in New York.

There are 1.5 million Dominicans living in America, with the largest group living here in Manhattan.

Their contribution to society has long been measured by City College and will soon be marked by the Smithsonian.

"This is the archive, this is actually the only one outside of the Dominican Republic, there's nothing like this anywhere else," said Dr. Ramona Hernandez, of the Dominican Studies Institute.

There are shelves upon shelves stocked with books, photos, and memorabilia of Dominicans making their way in America.

The archive was started in 1992 at City College and now the Smithsonian is planning an exhibition based on what Dr. Ramona Hernandez has gathered here.

"This is maestro Rafael at his piano," Dr. Hernandez said.

From the musicians who wrote the soundtracks to Dominican lives, to these albums all of which were recorded in America.

"Merengue has consistently been the music of the Dominican Republic for decades, it has been consistent throughout the Dominican history," Dr. Hernandez said.

Now there's a call for more memorabilia from the public, primarily in Washington Heights and West Harlem.

Neighborhoods where Dominicans have long resided, many of them in apartments opened by Broadway Housing Communities founded by Ellen Baxter.

"Tenants in the buildings save those precious treasures that they carried with them for so long, memories that are important to them, songs that were sang by their grandmothers," Baxter said, "So capturing those stories, and those treasures, and those memories are important."

And the idea that the Smithsonian is curating an exhibit, well that's a tribute to an immigrant community and its accomplishments.

"This is a dream come true. Dominicans are now perceived as part of the American society," Dr. Hernandez said, "We have made it as a people, definitely."

So next Friday evening at Broadway Housing Communities Building on Riverside Drive, they'll be collecting your mementos.

The exhibit at the Smithsonian is still a couple of years off, but it will be comprehensive and that's why they're starting to gather items now.

If you would like to make a contribution to the collection they will be taking them at an Open House:
Friday, October 11th
7:00 p.m. ? 9:00 p.m.

Broadway Housing Communities
Rio II Gallery
583 Riverside Drive, 7th Floor
(Off West 135th Street)
New York, NY 10031

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