Indian-Americans are the second-largest Asian population in Minnesota.
Didn’t know that? Well, have no fear, the Minnesota History Center is here for you.
At 40,000-strong, the Indian Americans’ history, arrival, and invaluable achievements are being celebrated at MHC when their pop-culture-shattering exhibit, “Beyond Bollywood: Indian American Shape the Nation,” opens on April 30.
While it’ll be running through July, it isn’t wise to wait too long before making the trek. Here’s why: Three suitcases spring to life with stories and items of Indian immigration from the turn of the 20th century through the present day; an Indian-American kitchen literally throws open its cupboards for a flavorful education (including cookbooks!); displays of every kind honor the contributions Indian Americans have made in science, the arts, dance, and music. There will even be featured interactive statistics.
If Bollywood (the famous nickname for Indian cinema in Mumbai) represents almost half of the country’s net box office revenue, the culture and talent of the Indian people is shown in an important ratio here in the United States, too: One out of every 100 Americans traces his or her roots to India.
This is a unique opportunity to learn from scheduled curator talks, enjoy traditional dance and music performances, even give yourself over to what’s being called the “Bugs Bunny & Beyond Bollywood Mash-Up Day,” noon to 4 p.m. May 14, where participants can help create a stop-motion movie, draw cartoons, do yoga, or make a flipbook.
This is one of those exhibits MHC does so well; by celebrating the specifics, they highlight what’s universal in all of us. But, don’t think that means it’s all some sort of unending history lesson. Curators and event planners also know the public has to have fun, preferably a lot of fun, which accounts for the skillful mix of performance and period study.
There’s even an adult happy hour going by the moniker, “History Flirt.”
Now, who said history can’t be one swinging time?
If you go
What: Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation
When: April 30 to July 10
Where: Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul
Tickets: Adults $12, seniors/students $10, ages 5-17 $6, 4 and under free.
On the web: www.mnhs.org