The traveling exhibition, America's Heritage: A History of U.S. Immigration, provides a comprehensive overview of American immigration history and laws.
The exhibit examines centuries of immigration to the U.S., starting with the colonial period. Each of twelve easy-to-install panels describes the social and economic conditions of a particular period and the ensuing laws that were enacted to regulate entry into the United States. The exhibit explains, for example, how the Naturalization Act of 1795 and the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1789 were the first public laws to restrict immigration to the new nation. The exhibit also explores European immigration and its impact on American economic prosperity in the latter half of the 1800s.
Other critical periods are highlighted, including the rise of the Know Nothing Party, the Red Scare of the 1950s, the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act that finally abolished national origin quotas, and the changes of the 1990s that revised employment-based categories for immigration and placed severe restrictions on the rights of immigrants. This story of U.S. immigration law and policy is told through vintage photographs, accompanying text, and instructive timelines.
The American Immigration Law Foundation is making this exhibit available free of charge to small museums, public libraries, civic and community centers, associations, and other institutions. Through this traveling exhibit, we hope institutions nationwide can bring the history and lessons of U.S. immigration into their communities.