Learning About Immigration in Modern Times at Norman Rockwell Museum

Norman Rockwell Museum To Host 3rd Annual United States Citizenship Naturalization Ceremony

For the third year, Norman Rockwell Museum is partnering with the Berkshire Immigrant Center to host a naturalization ceremony, to be held in the Museum’s galleries on Saturday, September 6th, 2014, starting at 10am.  Berkshire County residents who immigrated to the country from around the world will be sworn-in as new naturalized United States citizens during a special ceremony to be held against the backdrop of Norman Rockwell’s iconic Four Freedoms paintings.

Often, immigration is taught to students in a way that focuses on the history of immigration in the United States. Central to the development of our country and responsible for bringing people from all over the world to be part of communities across America, immigration is discussed with students mainly in the past tense. We focus on who immigrated when and why, without spending much time looking at who is immigrating now. Learning about immigration as something that happened in the past does, of course, help students develop an understanding of the ways in which our country has constantly changed throughout the last few centuries, but it doesn’t teach them that the United States is continuously evolving. By examining modern immigration, students can develop an understanding of what immigration means in modern times…

In order to begin examining what immigration looks like today, families can attend a naturalization ceremony at the Norman Rockwell Museum on Saturday, September 6th, 2014, in Stockbridge, MA. Co-hosted by the Berkshire Immigrant Center, the ceremony will officially grant over a dozen Berkshires residents American citizenship during the ceremony; originating from such countries as Argentina, Australia, China, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Ghana, Honduras, Nigeria, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Held in the museum’s galleries, participants in the ceremony will be granted citizenship in front of Norman Rockwell’s iconic “Four Freedoms” paintings, a set depicting the four freedoms of humanity as outlined by President Roosevelt in 1941.

This special ceremony presents a rare opportunity, as the vast majority of Americans will never take part in such an event. Families can also use the event as a chance to discuss reasons why the people participating in the event might want or need to immigrate to America. Learn together about the benefits of obtaining citizenship, and discuss the role that those things play within your own lives in the U.S. Families with older students can even research reasons why people might be immigrating to the United States in the first place. Allowing children to be aware that immigration is something that continues to take place every day is critical to their ability to understand that our society is continuously growing and changing. Not only did we spend hundreds of years becoming the nation we are today, but we will continue to evolve as time goes on.

The ceremony will take place at 10am on on Saturday, September 6th, 2014, and will include vocal performance and short speeches in addition to the official naturalization.  The Norman Rockwell Museum is located at 9 Route 183 in Stockbridge, MA.  For more information about the event, call the museum at 413-931-2290 or visit www.nrm.org.

For further studies of modern immigration, check your local library for these titles:

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