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VISIONS OF AMERICA  in Celebration of the U.S. Semiquincentennial (America250)

Approaching and celebrating the semiquincentennial anniversary of America’s independence, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and PBS Books join together to produce “Visions of America: All Stories, All People, All Places,” a digital-first series of videos and virtual conversations that explores our post-pandemic nation with a renewed interest in the places, people, and stories that have contributed to the America we live in today.

“We must encourage shared knowledge, literacy, including historical literacy, always remembering the foundation of all literacy is reading. IMLS will continue to seek and present our local stories through museums, libraries, and their local communities, showing the truly rich diversity of the American story, told in the individual voices making up the harmonic chorus of our community life,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “Civil discourse is greatly needed today, and our most trusted civic and cultural institutions must play the central role its restoration. We hope to inspire viewers and patrons to awaken to the power and joy of their local history and the part it plays in our national story and the shared ideals of our country.”

Digital Series

IMLS Director Crosby Kemper leads a video tour through lesser-known historical sites that symbolize an aspect of the spirit of our independence.

Some of our nation’s most notable historians and authors share the tales and themes that reverberate inside the walls of these institutions. Each episode explores the cities these institutions call home to probe what makes each of these communities so important to our national identity.

18th & Vine has been the heart and soul of the African American community in Kansas City. A vibrant center of African American culture, it is the home to important historic sites like the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM), the American Jazz Museum, and Gates B-B-Q.

Established in 1967, the Wing Luke Museum is an art and history museum that focuses on art, history, and culture of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians; it is the only pan-Asian community-based museum in the US.

The Freedom Tower (or Torre de la Libertad) in Miami has graced the city’s skyline for nearly a century, but it wasn’t until it played a crucial role in hosting Cuban refugees who fled their home country in the wake of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 that it became an important national landmark. 

Visions of America: Virtual Conversations – Video Library

African American Family Stories and Genealogy – Visiting the International African American Museum and Exploring Connections

Celebrating lesser-known stories of African Americans, IMLS Deputy Director of Museum Services Laura Huerta Migus begins our journey at the International African American Museum (IAAM) in Charleston, South Carolina.

Voices from the Heard Museum in Phoenix – Stories of First Americans

The Heard Museum in Phoenix highlights Indigenous creativity from traditional artworks to contemporary creations. This episode celebrates Native American history, culture, and present-day policy, with a focus on amplifying under heard stories.

Author Highlight with Carlos Eire

IMLS Director Crosby Kemper speaks with award-winning writer and scholar Carlos Eire to discuss his books, his life, and his experiences as an immigrant, an exile, and an American. Eire’s works were inspiration for “Visions of America: A Journey to the Freedom Tower – Stories of Cuban Migration to Miami”.

Our Founding Documents

Scholars Danielle Allen, Ph.D. and Yuval Levin, Ph.D. engage in a conversation exploring America’s founding documents, its promises, American society and our crucial citizen responsibilities.

The 75th Anniversary of the Desegregation of the Armed Forces

Scholars Matthew Delmont, Ph.D. and Jeffrey SammonsPh.D. and Brigadier General Terry V. Williams engage in a conversation exploring the role people of color played in the armed forces.

Celebrating America250

PBS Books host Heather Montilla sits down with IMLS Director Crosby Kemper to discuss America 250 and the importance of museums and libraries as places for the freedom of exchanging ideas and their essential roles in elevating American citizenry.