New Exhibit Explores History of Indian Americans in Minnesota and the US

For immediate release

Release dated: 
December 16, 2015
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3148,
Lauren Peck, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3137,

New Exhibit Explores History of Indian Americans in Minnesota and the US

‘Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation’ opens April 30 at the Minnesota History Center

One in every 100 Americans has a family connection to India. In Minnesota, Indian Americans number just under 40,000, making them the second largest Asian population in the state behind Hmong Americans.

“Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation,” April 30 to July 10, 2016, at the Minnesota History Center, explores the Indian American experience and the community's vital political, professional and cultural contributions to American and Minnesotan life and history. A dynamic panel exhibit created by the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service will be augmented with artifacts, oral histories, and personal reflections developed by the Minnesota Historical Society in collaboration with members of Minnesota’s Indian American community.

“What did I bring with me to Minnesota? First, I brought my accent. I also brought the hopes and dreams of my family and community, and their anxieties,” said Raj Menon, who moved to Minnesota in 1998 to work for a computer software company in Eagan.  

The exhibit showcases Indian American culture and contributions to Minnesota and the nation from breakthroughs in business, the arts, medicine, science, and technology, to the flavorful food, colorful fashion and yoga of India that have become a central part of American culture.

Related Programs (all programs are held at the Minnesota History Center unless otherwise noted):

  • Opening Day Activities (UPDATED March 30, 2016) 
    April 30, 10 a.m-5 p.m. All programs free with History Center admission.
    • Indian Textiles Pop-Up Exhibit, 10 a.m-5 p.m.
    • Beyond Bollywood Curator Talk, 10:30 a.m.
    • Music, Movement and Mudras Indian Dance Performance, 2-4 p.m. 
  • “Spicy Masala Chai” Dance Show (UPDATED March 30, 2016)
    May 1, 2-3 p.m. $10-$20. Tickets are available online.
    Take in the top-selling, 60-minute, family-friendly show from the 2015 Minnesota Fringe Festival, presented by Bollywood Dance Scene.
  • Bugs Bunny & Beyond Bollywood Mash-Up Family Day
    May 14, 2016, Noon-4 p.m. Free with History Center admission.
    Explore the two don’t-miss Smithsonian exhibits, “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation” and “What’s Up Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones,” make a flip book, do some yoga, learn to draw cartoons and enjoy Indian American music, dancing and more!
  • Additional programs include: Community presentations in the exhibit gallery, musical performances, lectures and a new happy hour at the History Center. Look for more information on our calendar of events.

Visitors can share the exhibit experience using the hashtag #BeyondBollywood on social media.

Exhibit and Program Support
“Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation” was created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

The Minnesota showing of “Beyond Bollywood” is made possible in part by presenting partner The Dr. Dash Foundation, major sponsor Wells Fargo, with additional support by the Hindu Society of Minnesota, the India Association of Minnesota, Nath Companies, Reddy Foundation and the Legacy Amendment through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.

Location and Hours
The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays (admission is free on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, call 651-259-3000 or 1-800-657-3773.

Admission to “Beyond Bollywood” is included with regular History Center admission of $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and college students, $6 ages 5 to 17; free age 4 and under and MNHS members.

About the Minnesota History Center
The Minnesota History Center holds the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. The History Center is home to an innovative museum, engaging public programs, a modern library, distinctive gift shops and an award-winning restaurant.

About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.