This collaborative exhibit, co-curated with a 20 member Hmong Community Advisory Council, explores what it means to be Hmong American. How has Hmong life changed since refugees first entered the U.S. in the 1970s? What does it mean to be Hmong American today? Through objects, audio recordings and personal stories of Hmong Americans, this exhibit immerses visitors in the material culture and social issues of Hmong American communities.
Included in the exhibition are memories and experiences of particular Hmong families who came to DeKalb in the 1970s and later moved to rejoin family members in other parts of the Midwest. Long Yang remembers arriving in DeKalb from Thailand on January 2, 1979. “Being the first Hmong family in DeKalb, (the) language barrier coupled with isolation from relatives and other Hmong families had been the most depressing experience in the first few months of our arrival. Members of the United Lutheran Church of DeKalb had given my family warm welcome and great support, including money for food and clothing, a fully furnished apartment, and everyday transportation to and from ESL classes at Kishwaukee College.”
View traditional Hmong clothing and learn about concepts of family and memory. Play Hmong music on a Qeej-Hero interactive game. See beautiful Hmong storycloths from the museum’s collection and learn about the distinct sewing traditions.