Students and community members will have a unique opportunity to learn about Arab history, traditions and culture in November as Tibbits partners with the Arab American National Museum (AANM) to present special programs to school groups and the public.
AANM located in Dearborn, Michigan is the first and only museum in the United States devoted to Arab American history and culture and this year celebrates its 10th anniversary. The AANM programs will introduce students in grades 3-12 to the culture of the Arab region including traditional music, history, and family life. Representatives from the AANM will also make presentations to multiple service organizations during their week in Coldwater. Coldwater Rotary Club, Altrusa, the Exchange Club and Kiwanis will discuss Arab culture through presentations aimed at sharing information and correcting common misconceptions.
“Tibbits’ mission celebrates arts and culture,” remarked Tibbits Executive Director Christine Delaney. “We are proud to assist in bringing members of our community together for these important conversations.”
On Wednesday, November 18, a public event will feature traditional food, presentations by AANM staff and an exhibition of photographs from Tibbits’ SURA camp. This past summer a group of Yemen-American teens participated in the SURA program. According to Sarah Zimmer, instructor for the program, “The students are so excited to have their work on display. Their perspectives of Coldwater, community, family, and culture are wonderfully expressive and insightful.”
The event starts at 7PM and is presented free of charge. The night will culminate with a performance by Tara Entertainment, a band from metro Detroit that came together to bring awareness to Yemeni music and its uniqueness. The musicians want to remind older generation of Yemeni of something they grew up with, introduce younger generations to an important aspect of their cultural heritage, and bridge the gap with the rest of society since music knows no language. The program will promote cross-cultural understanding among Coldwater’s Yemen-American community and other populations here.
Rounding out the week is a day-long motor coach trip to the AANM and the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) on Saturday, November 21. During the first half of the trip, participants will have a chance to tour the DIA including the newly revamped Ancient Middle East gallery which illuminates artworks of some of the world’s earliest civilizations —modern day Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Yemen. Afterwards, the group will visit the AANM where they will be able to explore exhibits and enjoy a special private reception. The cost of the trip is $15 which includes transportation and museum admissions. Reservations are required by November 10, and can be made through Tibbits by contacting Tammy Apmann at 517-278-6029 or email@example.com.
Funding for these programs comes from the Michigan Humanities Council Heritage Grants program. Heritage Grants support projects that bring the authentic voices of cultural identity groups to the foreground. The program strives to help the people of Michigan understand cultural differences by sharing local stories about race and cultural history.
In Coldwater, Tibbits is partnering with area schools, service organizations and the Arab American community to offer a series of presentations, workshops, and exhibits aimed at fostering conversations about the history and culture of the Arab American community.