The Immigrant City Exhibit

With nearly one third of its residents born outside of the United States, Somerville boasts an extremely rich culture through its blending of diverse backgrounds. But what are our stories in this immigrant city? What dreams and aspirations brought us here? How did we cope in a new community and in a new country? And most importantly, what brings us together - and what pulls us apart - across generations of immigrants?

The Immigrant City exhibit opened in November 2007 at the Somerville Museum. In January, 2007, The Welcome Project began organizing an exhbit and programming -- with many partners -- that would open the following fall at the Somerville Museum.  The purpose was to create a community-wide dialogue between earlier waves of immigrants and more recent ones, to show the similarities and differences among waves of settlers in this city of immigrants.

First-hand accounts, photos, art and artifacts were documented by a number of groups, including:

  • Welcome Project youth and board members
  • Tufts faculty and students
  • Somerville High School students and teachers

Over 30 people of immigrant heritage narrated their unique experiences. Photographs from 13-16 year old youth in our Summer Photography program made up a great deal of the photographic documentation.

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, the child of immigrants from Italy, speaks at Immigrant City reception. In early November, the exhibit opened with a special reception, at which Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone joined Brazilian Women's Center co-founder Regina Bertholdo as keynote speakers.

See our Exhibit Gallery (coming soon) for more photos from the Exhbit.

In addition to the opening, we sponsored public events in the fall and spring.


Reinstallation at Tufts: Fall 2008

In fall 2008, the Immigrant City exhibit was reinstalled at the Slater Concourse in the Aideckman Center for the Arts at Tufts University. Those attending the opening reception saw the world premiere of 5 digital stories produced by youth in the Welcome Project's summer Ms.Moynihan, a Somerville teacher, brought her class to Immigrant CityDigital Storytelling Program.They also were introduced to youth in our Liaison Interpreter Program of Somerville (LIPS), for many of whom this was their first visit to Tufts University.

Through a partnership with a Tufts anthropology class taught by Jennifer Burtner, a team of teachers and administrators visited the exhibit for an introduction to the Immigrant City curriculum.

Several weeks later, a Somerville teacher and her students from the Cummings School visited took a field trip to Tufts to participate in new curriculum activities designed around the exhibit.