Young Historians, Living Histories

The Asian Pacific American Experience

Young historians living histories group shot

Young Historians, Living Histories engaged middle and high school students across the country to deepen their understanding of the Asian Pacific American (APA) experience as lived in their community. This project allowed participants to attend a one-week or a series of workshops at a nine Affiliate locations across the nation, where they learned about Asian Pacific American history and the foundations of community storytelling through digital technologies.

Affiliate partners mapThrough this project, students learned about the experiences of their families and other people from their communities before they immigrated to America and how these experiences shaped their story in America. Youth learned about the APA experience by using curriculum based on the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s exhibition I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story, organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

Students also learned elements of conducting research and collecting oral histories. They used technology to produce short community heritage films that were screened at the 32nd annual CAAM Film Festival, March 15, 2014, in San Francisco.

Students conducting research

Nine Smithsonian Affiliate organizations hosted workshops for the youth:

Pacific Aviation Museum (Honolulu, Hawaii)

Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, North Carolina)

Riverside Metropolitan Museum (Riverside, California)

Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, Ohio)

Oklahoma History Center (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, Texas)

Historic Arkansas Museum (Little Rock, Arkansas)

Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, California)

Additional collaborators:

Asian American Lead Program (Washington, D.C.)

Asian Arts Initiative (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Where is Asia-America? is an original poem about the Asian-American experience written and performed by Joseph Hwang (class of 2014), Evan Yi (class of 2014), and Alex Zhang (class of 2014). Produced by Marquise McFerguson and George West. Directed, shot, and edited by Park Lanford (class of 2014).

This video was produced created as part of the Smithsonian Young Historians, Living Histories project in collaboration with the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, the National Park Service, the Historic Arkansas Museum, the Center for Asian American Media, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and the National Park Foundation. Funding provided by a University of Phoenix grant to the National Park Foundation Stewards Program and the Smithsonian Youth Access Grants Program.

A 2013 collaboration among the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Smithsonian Affiliations, and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). Help us to continue to bring programs like these to Affiliate neighborhoods by donating to Smithsonian Affiliations.

View the Press Release

Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and Smithsonian Affiliations Present “Young Historians, Living Histories”

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View the flickr photo pool – “Young Historians, Living Histories”