Learning About Immigration in Modern Times

Norman Rockwell Museum To Host Second United States Citizenship Naturalization Ceremony

Courtesy Photo: Norman Rockwell Museum.

Often, immigration is taught to students in a way that focuses on the history of immigration in the United States. Central to the development of our country and responsible for bringing people from all over the world to be part of communities across America, immigration is discussed with students mainly in the past tense. We focus on who immigrated when and why, without spending much time looking at who is immigrating now. Learning about immigration as something that happened in the past does, of course, help students develop an understanding of the ways in which our country has constantly changed throughout the last few centuries, but it doesn’t teach them that the United States is continuously evolving. By examining modern immigration, students can develop an understanding of what immigration means in modern times…

In order to begin examining what immigration looks like today, families can attend a naturalization ceremony at the Norman Rockwell Museum on Saturday, September 7th in Stockbridge, MA. Co-hosted by the Berkshire Immigrant Center, the ceremony will officially grant twenty-three Berkshires residents American citizenship, and recognizes that they have spent considerable time in the country (between three and five years), have an understanding of American history and the civic duties that citizenship brings, and are proficient speakers of English. Held in the museum’s galleries, participants in the ceremony will be granted citizenship in front of Norman Rockwell’s iconic “Four Freedoms” paintings, a set depicting the four freedoms of humanity as outlined by President Roosevelt in 1941.

This special ceremony presents a rare opportunity, as the vast majority of Americans will never take part in such an event. Families can also use the event as a chance to discuss reasons why the people participating in the event might want or need to immigrate to America. Learn together about the benefits of obtaining citizenship, and discuss the role that those things play within your own lives in the U.S. Families with older students can even research reasons why people might be immigrating to the United States in the first place. Allowing children to be aware that immigration is something that continues to take place every day is critical to their ability to understand that our society is continuously growing and changing. Not only did we spend hundreds of years becoming the nation we are today, but we will continue to evolve as time goes on.

The ceremony will take place at 10am on on Saturday, September 7th, and will include vocal performance and short speeches in addition to the official naturalization.  The Norman Rockwell Museum is located at 9 Route 183 in Stockbridge, MA.  For more information about the event, call the museum at 413-931-2290 or visit www.nrm.org.

For further studies of modern immigration, check your local library for these titles:

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