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AIHA Contact History Museum
 
 
 
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The American Italian Heritage Museum &
The American Italian Heritage Association


1227 Central Ave. Albany, NY 12205
518.435.1979 |
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December 2016
 

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE.

We will soon welcome in a new year; and, as the saying goes, time flies. Hard to believe that this is my thirty-seventh year as your President! As such it is my responsibility to provide the leadership required for us to be able to carry out our mission. In addition, as the Founder I must do everything in my power to ensure that our treasure is handed to future generations. I read the following the other day: "To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing". It is my sincerest hope that a majority of you understand the reason and substance of the things I say in this and former President's Messages. Keeping alive our Italian heritage is important enough for all of us to make the necessary sacrifices to preserve it so that those who come after us can fully appreciate our expansive Italian culture.

Our young people will need examples of people who cherish their Italian heritage. It certainly isn't going to be easy for them because the cultural pressures are only going to grow.Assimilationis itakiig place at such a rapid rate..
The issues are very complex, but without those willing to sing the melody of keeping alive our traditions, many will forget the music. We are here to have a culture that is akin to the mythical groo who eagerly leapt into the fray. Wistful for it - our values and traditions are part of the solution to the woes of our culture.

I have spent countless hours on this issue of our newsletter. I hope some of the information will grab at your heart, hold on and not let go. There are pages informing you about our Italian Christmas traditions. And, yet, there are still more of them that can't be printed because I have run out of space! I firmly believe that an important way in which we keep alive our Italian heritage is to always keep alive our traditions. We are the ones tasked with paying them forward. In order to accomplish that you need to know what they are, appreciate them, practice them and set an example. Please, care enough to do your part.

Unfortunately, family history can be lost in the span of just one generation. So many of us wish we had asked our grandparents and parents more questions about their own family tree as well as past experiences. Since we did not ask the pertinent questions, we don't have the answers to many of the things we would like to know about their personal lives and heritage.

We need to do a better job of recording the history we are making. If you have old photos, annotate and identify on the back of the phoo the people highlighted in the pictures. Inquire of your older relatives about the full names of people in photos and their ties to the family. Especially important are the answers regarding when and where the photo was taken and the reason for the event (i.e., wedding, birthday, reunion, etc.). Keep in mind that digital/electronic photos will be very difficult to pass down to generations. I recommend that the important ones be printed. Speaking of this, I am still looking for one or more volunteers to identify the hundreds of photos we have of members and events. Be sure to contact me if you are willing to help - this is vital work for our mission.

Our museum links the living to the past. I think as we get older, we care even more about the past, especially as it relates to those people who came before us and with whom we are involved. Keep in mind always that while we are preserving the past for future generations, we are not bound by our past but instead use it to chart an even brighter future.

On behalf of our Board of Trustees and Officers I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a truly blessed Christmas.

Buon Natale! And, a very happy

New Year. Felice Anno Nuovo!

Prof./Cav. Philip J. DiNovo

February 2016

Since winter is a season of reflection, it is increasingly important to do some serious thinking. I have lost a brother, sister-in-law and nephew within the past thirteen months. It has been a very painful time for me and my family just as it is for so many of you who have also lost a loved one. Thus, it begs the questions: W72at is important? and How are we spending our time and treasure? We have limited time, and each day is a blessing that we cannot afford to waste.

I am not looking forward to the challenges facing our Association and Museum. So many organizations are having a difficult time because of the times in which we live. It takes a great deal of sacrifice to carry out our mission. I am sorry to report that there are not enough people who care enough about doing what is necessary to save many of our Italian American institutions. Words alone are not sufficient. For example, there were two people who recently visited our museum. One of them said ours was the best Italian American museum in the country. We spent hours with them and. astonishingly, both left without paying admission or even dropping a donation in the box! We don't receive any funds from the government and must cover our operating costs on our own. Needless to say, it is very expensive to operate a museum.

I've said many times that we have a handful of wonderful volunteers. We just could not operate without them & certainly could not afford to pay them for their time and/or talent. All of the people on the Honor Roll are making it possible for us to continue; we could not do so without donations and fundraisers. Our operating budget increases each year and there isn't anything in it that can be eliminated.

As the renewals come in I think of all our long¬time members who have faithfully supported us. I regret that I don't have time to write or call you and especially miss our visits. I want each of you to know that your support is genuinely appreciated.
A short time ago a woman brought her uncle to visit our museum. Both of them joined and had many nice things to say about their visit. The niece also signed up to be a volunteer. One of our challenges is finding ways to get people to see what a fantastic museum we have here on 1227 Central. Well, the best solution, of course, is to become a volunteer. And, we are a welcoming, friendly, energetic group - and not all necessarily Italian!

This winter we need to do some very serious thinking about how we can solve the many serious challenges facing our organization. Most importantly, we need to have greater support for our fundraisers and get more of our members to support our programs, classes and events. Those that do (thank you, thank you, thank you) keep on coming back & also tell us how much they appreciate what we offer. Those who do not live in our area are important to us and we are important to them. We offer them the opportunity to keep in touch with their Italian heritage and support our important mission. Please help us to obtain new members as well as financial support for our mission no matter where you may live.

The problems we face will not go away even if I stop talking about them. I wish they would because I am so very weary of dealing with these same issues. I hope you will reflect on the following two questions. The first: How important is your Italian heritage to you? The second: Is our museum a treasure worth passing on to future generations? To borrow a patriotic saying, "Our team needs YOU"!

Honestly, I don't like repeating myself, but the problems have not gone away. It is my responsibility as President of the AIHA&M to let you know the present status of our budget as well as future goals. Our challenges will not disappear; we need more financial assistance and additional volunteers in order to remain vibrant.
We have the largest Italian American museum in the East and received great reviews on our many accomplishments. We are grateful to each and every one of you who is supporting us. Our future is bright if we remain vibrant. We have an opportunity to leave a legacy for futuregenerations - please help!

BuonaPasqual
Prof/Cav. Philip J. DiNovo
 

November 2015

Thank you for being a member because your support is very important to us. We especially thank those of you have been very loyal for so many years. Presently in our 36th year, our dream has come true and our accomplishments were recognized this year with the receipt of two distinguished awards. Our outstanding reputation is receiving great reviews from across the nation. Members and guests have expressed gratitude for the notable job being done by our entire organization.

As time goes by, we need your support now more than ever. Regrettably and with much sadness, we have lost many of our loyal members, some of whom also served as dedicated volunteers. We strongly encourage more of our members to volunteer with the ever-present need to enroll new members. Please help us accomplish this task by keeping in mind, for example, that a membership in the American Italian Heritage Association & Museum is a great Christmasgift......... and very affordable! It is a gift that keeps on
giving all year and serves as an on-going reminder of your thoughtfulness.

Our budget of $145,000 does not have a salary line item. There is no place within the budget where we are able to reduce our expenses. Dues will bring in around $23,000; the balance of $122,000 must be raised through donations and fundraisers. That is a big challenge, especially when we do not have enough volunteers to carry out these tasks. We need your help! Do you have some fundraising ideas? - we are very open to listening to any and all suggestions. Do you know some potential donors? - just give us their names or, even better, contact themon our behalf. Are you able to get an organization to make a donation? - our newsletter is a wonderful source of advertising. And, of utmost importance is: Would you would be willing to put together a fundraiser on our behalf?

There are only a few Italian American museums and we need the vast influence of the Italian American community to support the important work we are doing. Our museum has earned and certainly deserves not only their support but that of the entire community.


I don't think the world has ever seen the rapid changes that have transpired over the last fifty years We live in a culture that demands the expenditure a large portion of most workers' earnings for ti purchase of essentially unnecessary, un-needed stuf This same culture taxes our time and demands ft right to shape our values. We live in a consumed culture that distrusts us. On the other hand, our Italia heritage values people over things and helps us gi our priorities right.

I have worked very hard on this newsletter an have included many pages detailing our Italia Christmas traditions. Italy is not the country ot parents or grandparents left, and yet, it holds on I the true meaning of the season. Family life is sti very important in Italy and good food is an importai part of the culture. We cannot live in the past becaus there will always be change and much of it is goo but not all inclusive. I believe we need to hold on t our values and precious heritage. Our traditions ai worth keeping alive and you will find many Italia Christmas traditions in the pages of this newsiette You may have to do a little tweaking but please say some and pass them along to the next generations. I addition, we are offering a number of Christma season events at the museum that need your suppor hopefully, you will make a special effort to attend.

Recently, I was reading about a local golf cours celebrating its' 100th birthday and that it has t salvage the best part while changing with the time Keeping longtime members didn't seem to be a difficult as attracting new ones. They are also havin trouble getting young people to join. The article wer on to say it's really going to be a matter of survival c the fittest. All organizations have the same challenge indicating why it is so important that we garner yo support. Tame grazie to our generous donors and ot wonderful volunteers!

On behalf of the Officers and Board of Trustee. Buon Natale & Felice Capo dAnno! May God bles you with good health and great joy in the New Year

Prof/Cav. Philip J. DiNovo

August 2015

Our informative newsletters, classes, programs and special events bolster the unification and strengthen our Italian-American community. In conjunction, your membership helps us to record and preserve our Italian heritage. And, it connects you to the riches of Italian life. It's your lifeline to tradition - and to the future!

We offer so many free services which are worth more than the actual cost of being a member. In our newsletter you read of the essential relevance to our people. You find out what's happening in the Italian-American community, Italy and the world. As a member you are part of something very big, our Italian heritage.

We are doing our best to develop ways to remain vibrant and reach the next generation even as Italian-American life is undergoing many changes. It is not easy! Some young Italian-Americans are curiously looking for their place in our community. Make no mistake - we are here for them. We don't take anyone or anything for granted! I am asking for your promise right now. My fervent request is two-fold: 1. Acquire at least one new member; and, 2. Be as involved as possible. Most importantly, remember that you are essential for our success! Maintain an active connection with us. We know your time is limited, but we hope your interest in our success is not. Please keep in mind that we are all volunteers and face many challenges in our quest to remain vibrant.

A group of American Indian actors walked off the set of an Adam Sandier movie this week over complaints about stereotypes, offensive names and scenes they say disrespected Native Americans. "The Ridiculous Six" is the name of the film and the comedy is designed to lampoon stereotypes, according to Netflix: I wish more Italian-American actors and comedians would follow suit, Yes, demeaning movies and humor about Italian and Italian-Americans do a great deal of harm! I know of Italian-Americans who do not want to be associated with their Italian heritage because of the negative image that movies and Italian-American humor have created. It never ends, and we have had to deal with many negative images created often by people with an Italian surname. Many of these individuals are uninformed; therefore, it is our responsibility to educate them. We need to show them that negative images really do hurt us!

A very sad fact is that the appreciation of our Italian heritage has been diminished by many. Each generation loses a little bit more of that sense of connectedness to something larger than themselves, that which binds them to their "roots". American individualism is different than Italian individualism. Italian individualism is still connected to the ideas and lifestyles of the family and tradition. There is deterioration and rejection of "old" world values even in Italy. Contemporary people choose to reject the communities from which they came while in fact, ending up replacing them with new ones. Often they are built on a rejection of rationality and revel in misinformation, poor scholarship, and less insightful wisdom. It is well within our power to aid in the rebuilding, reclaiming and revitalization of our Italian-American community. But, we cannot do this without your assistance. We are here to lend a strong hand if you or someone you know wants-to hold on to and grow in appreciation of your respective Italian heritage. When we lose our Italian heritage we lose a treasure!

Recently, I came across this quote: "Blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family". I try my best to be a loyal person and I value those who are loyal as well. My sincere thanks to7 each of you who has been a long-time member. Your loyalty is appreciated A true example of genuine loyalty is a married couple celebrating seventy-one years together. So, we wish a very Happy Anniversary to Matthew and Anne Castelucci who have been members for 35 years. When I spoke to them recently they told me how much they enjoyed our newsletter and marvel how much has been accomplished from such humble beginnings!

To a certain extent our membership contains a microcosm of the United States, We have many non-Italian members of different races, religions, persuasions, some having their own traditions and others, having none. What unites us all is our mission which is to record and preserve Italian heritage. Since we began we have always welcomed members who were not of Italian descent - many people love Italy, its people; cuhure and food. We welcome them and together we have built an outstanding organization.

Prof /Cav. Prof. Philip J. DiNovo

 

FATHER’S DAY & Agire da Maschio

by Prof./Cav. Philip J. DiNovo


Reflecting on Father’s Day, my thoughts go back to my own father and grandfathers. It is only recently that I feel I have gained a greater appreciation of what made them click. As a third generation Italian-American, I had a problem dealing with their demeanor and values.

While hundreds of books have been written about the Italian mother, the heart of the family, books on the role of the Italian father are limited. Of course, we all knew he was the main provider and king of the home. Yet, there was little to help us deal with agire da maschio, their ever-present obligation as Italian men to act in a manly fashion. My grandfather DiNovo was very strick with his nine children. Even the male members of the family had early curfews. The rules that the women had to follow were much stricter. Everyone was expected to work long and hard to help the family. I never saw him show any outward signs of affection toward my grandmother or his children. Yet, as a grandson, I would always kiss him upon entering his home. He would hug and kiss his grandchildren, always showing generosity toward all of us.

My grandfather Sgarlata, had six girls; no boys survived. While he was strict, he seemed to me less so than my other grandfather. We also always greeted him with a kiss upon entering his home, even in our teens. My grandmother Sgarlata once told me she wanted to marry someone else, but her family had arranged the marriage with my grandfather. They were a very happy and devoted couple. I recall the happiness of their 50th anniversary expressed in the traditional way.

When my father died, one of our neighbors said to me, “Phil, your father was so proud of your being a professor”. My father never said that to me, keeping so much of his love to himself. When we drove to the train station at the time I entered the service he shook my hand even though he wanted to kiss and hug me.


The Italian ideal of manliness was so much of my father and grandfathers; they were often impassive, tough, with dead-pan stoicism. They were very hard workers and knew the meaning of self-denial. I often remember the heavy price they paid to support and care for their families. They would stand firm when they saw anything as a threat to l’ordine della familia.

My great regret is that I didn’t understand what constituted manliness in the Italian culture while growing up. I now know how much I was loved by my father and grandfathers, but they all are now gone. I find it quite paradoxical that I have inherited so much of my own manliness from them. Even though I am a third generation Italian-American, I feel strongly; but, I am not romantic nor are my two brothers. We are just like our dad and our grandfathers in that romantic behavior in the Italian culture is an indication that a man had lost control. While it may be tolerated from a single young man, it is a sign of foolishness in a married man.

While I would modify the Italian ideal of manliness, I would still hold on to most of the deeper totality and meaning of the concept. My father and grandfathers were wonderful role models as their love for their families was very strong although lacking in expression. They knew what the word commitment meant. So much of what we are and have been able to achieve is owed to them. On this Father’s Day be sure to express to your father and grandfathers gratitude for their deep love, a love that is often expressed in the context agire da mashio.

 
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE  March 2015

I thank every one of you who has paid your 2015 dues because your support is immensely significant to us! It helps us help you by keeping alive your Italian heritage. Through your membership we are able to carry out our very important mission of recording and preserving our Italian heritage. We have members all over this nation and have been told that we are an inspiration to them as well as many Italian American organizations.

We are so pleased to have had a part in the documentary, THE NEIGHBORHOOD THAT DISAPPEARED, which chronicles how families, homes and Albany's ethnic culture were affected by construction of the Empire State Plaza in the 1960's. Since Albany's vibrant "Little Italy" occupied targeted areas, it, too, vanished. Member Mary Paley is the film's Executive Producer, Director, & Writer. Patrick J. Bulgaro, also a member, wrote and eloquently spoke about the historical significance. Among those interviewed are many members and most of the interviews took place in our museum. A number of our members provided financial and moral support that helped in the production of this important documentary. It was shown on our local PBS station, WMHT, and made history by bringing record-breaking viewer support. Given that our mission is to record and preserve our Italian heritage, we were happy to support THE NEIGHBORHOOD THAT DISAPPEARED because that is .exactly what the documentary accomplishes. Available for purchase in our Gift Shop (may also be ordered by phone or email), you will undoubtedly find it interesting and informative no matter where you live.

Regarding WMRT TV, it received a grant to produce a series of short one-minute segments featuring different prominent local Italian Americans in order to capture and share the important role of greater Capital Region Italian Americans. Yours truly was chosen to be one of those people. These local spots coincided with the premier of the PBS series called Italian Americans which was shown on WIvfHT in February. The segment also aired multiple times, resulting in great publicity for our Association and Museum. In addition, I was asked for input from the WCNY PBS station in Central New York to assist them with a program about Italian Americans in the greater Central New York area. And, once again, a number of our members participated.
The Societi DIM. S. Abruzzese, Schenectady, NY, founded in 1912, sold their building and donated some of their treasured artifacts to our museum. We would need an even larger building if we were to display all their items; but, we have placed a portion of them in our archives. The Society was a social club and had been reduced to around 11 members at time of closing.

On behalf of our Association I sent words of understanding and support upon commemoration of the Holodomor - the Ukrainian Genocide Famine. Millions of Ukranians were murdered during the Soviet occupation. We invited Chairman Dr. Andry Baran to present their Traveling Exhibit here at the museum in the future.

We received a call from a member who heard a radio commercial about a New Year's Eve Mafia Party at the Holiday Inn Express in Latham, NY. She asked me to call and complain. I called but was never to reach the manager, nor did he return my calls. I also contacted other Italian American organizations and they, too, were unsuccessful. Member Peter Sparano, President of the Schenectady Sons of Italy Gabriele D'Annunzio Lodge #321, contacted the SOI Commission for Social Justice who repeatedly tried to get the Holiday Inn Express to change the theme. The Inn website depicted a group of Italian American men in sharp suits and fedoras. Lou Gallo, NYS Chairman for CSJ called General Manager, Todd Hanlon, asking for the theme to be changed. Hanlon failed to return multiple calls. Hotel owner, Jim Morrell, could not be reached*. Lou said he let Hanlon know he would recommend to the Sons of Italy that they never hold any events there; and the group has agreed to boycott the hotel, urging our Association to do the same. The Italian American Community Center of Albany called to complain as well. Hopefully, the Holiday Inn Express in Latham gets the message loud and clear! *Update from Lou Gab: Mr. Morrell, an Italian American, was unaware of the event, apologized profusely and fired the General Manager & Company. As a result the BOYCOTT WAS LIFTED. Just goes to show the power of combining forces to take a united stand for a righteous cause!

Two young Italians from Naples, Italy visited our Museum in December. Giuseppe works in the area and his friend, Barbara, is a student at the University of Naples working on her Master's thesis (Italian Immigration). She spoke almost no English while Giuseppe spoke English very well. Barbara asked if she could do a survey at the museum. During her visit three Italian-speaking members came in the door. On most days there would not have been any such visitors, but their arrival turned it into old home week. Barbara was then able to speak with and interview a number of our members. Giuseppe helped by interviewing those who only spoke English. They found in our museum a home away from home with Giuseppe happily making return visits to our museum.
It is clearly demonstrated in this message that we have become an important resource by helping the public gain appreciation for our Italian American community and our contributions. Your membership and donations are major factors in our providing these many vital services.


ProfiCav. Philip I. DiNovo

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE  February 2015

As we begin a new year I am full of hope, relying heavily on the old adage, "If you build it, they will come ". Our visitors remind us that our American Italian Heritage Museum & Cultural Center is both unique and outstanding. When we purchased the three buildings that comprise our campus they were in horrible condition. It took us a long, painful five years to renovate them all the while expending a great deal of money. Another four years passed totaling nine years before we were able to open our 2nd floor Cultural Center. I thank God that I have lived long enough to see all three buildings functional and operating according to plan.

I like to make people happy, to encourage them and to be the bearer of good news. I subscribe to many ethnic and church newsletters. Most of them are very positive and fail to inform the membership of the problems they are facing. They are good to read, but many have serious problems that are not -going away. Due to my professional training and experience in operating a business I know wishful thinking does not solve problems. I believe and have taught for many years that in order to ',-solve problems, you need to have knowledge of those problems! Most of you are very aware of these problems.

In the Capital District a Hungarian American Club that was over 100 years old went out of business. In our local newspaper recently there was an article reporting about Troy's Germania Hall being offered for sale. The hall actually had 17 German cultural societies when it was established in 1896. It is estimated that 6.6 % residents of Troy, NY, 0.5% countywide, are of German descent. We all know we are at a time when urban fraternal and longtime organizations find it difficult to remain open. Their artifacts may be donated to the local historical society which in my opinion cannot do justice for such gifts due to their mission. In another recent article I read that almost one-third of the parishes in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York will merge. The article went on the say "this time of transition in the archdiocese will undoubtedly be difficult for people who live in parishes that will merge." Even though the writing is on the wall there is hope!

The belief in human reason and science characterizes the spirit of the present age, so that people think they are the bearers of light. People go to great lengths to acquire knowledge, possessions and prestige; they want to think of themselves as being enlightened. Science, money, politics or military power are not the answers. Sacrifice is a word we don't hear often enough, but it will take many sacrifices along with the strength to stand up and be counted. What do we believe and what do we value? Do we really want to preserve our Italian heritage, our museum and cultural center? If the answer is yes, then it will take more than mere words. We will have to make actual sacrifices to ensure our future.

We need to inform our young people that true friendship is more than just a casual 'like' on the Internet. They will have to live out their friendship while openly sharing their thoughts and feelings. We need to invite them to engage directly with real people similar to those found in our association who cannot simply be switched off like a computer. We have something important to offer people of all ages!

It pleases me that so many of our members who work very hard to accomplish our mission are not of Italian descent. I am also very grateful to all of you across the United States who are members and all of you who are so generous with your time, talent & treasure. We have many real challenges and we need to know what they are in order to be able to deal with them. We will remain vibrant if we are realistic and willing to make the necessary sacrifices. I would like to apologize for our mistakes; there are good reasons for them. Mainly, we are human with only a small handful of volunteers doing the majority of work. Yes, I know I repeat myself, but repetition is an important tool of an educator. Once the problem is solved it no longer needs repetition.

In closing, I thank each of you reading this message. You are a minority in the Italian American community. Your membership and support is making it possible for us to carry out our mission and present what is happening to so many other ethnic groups. Increasing our membership, expanding volunteer numbers, and raising sufficient funds means we will have a bright future!

ProfiCav. Philip I. DiNovo

 

President's Message November 2014

Have you visited our informative website? Member Dominic Paratore, our talented webmaster, recently told me that we received 23,466 visitors to our website from January to August! The number of visitors to our facebook page has also increased. This is such great news; Dominic has done a tremendous job connecting us to the world of internet communications. Please sign up for our email newsletter which you will receive free of charge. Be sure to direct family and friends to our website: www.americanitalianmuseum.org.

More good news! Our Thrift Shop is doing very well, thanks to member Sarah Cifarelli-Wellen and her hardworking volunteers. Please help us put the word out that the Thrift Shop is open for a very unique shopping experience on Tuesdays from 10 am to 3pm and Saturdays from 10amto 1pm.

It just so happens that another member, Ann Parillo, who hosts a local television program called "Schenectady Today", recently invited me to be on her show. You can catch the episode where I talked about our museum and cultural center by going to our website, www.americanitalianmuseum.org and click on video. The interview is on You Tube and quite informative; it could be a great promotional tool. Please pass this information on to family and friends so they might learn more about our mission!

We hope you will renew and remit payment in a timely manner. Your support is very important to us. Please keep in mind that late notices cost us time and money both of which could be so much better spent on other expenses.

As we end the year 2014 it is important to reflect on our many accomplishments over the past year. Donations are always appreciated since our expenses are ever-increasing (we have not raised our dues in about five years). We depend heavily on fundraisers and donations for roughly three-quarters of our budget. No one here is paid a salary. We are among a few museums in the area going about our business without a salaried staff-,yet, our annual income budget is around $138,000. Our museum and our cultural center help us carry out our mission and our record deserves the support of the whole Italian American community.

If you have visited us recently or if you read our newsletter you have been made aware that Italy is not the same land left by your ancestors. We all know that there will always be change, and as the world constantly changes, so, too, must each of us face this reality. We have been advised that we need to have an endowment large enough to ensure that our vast collection will be saved for future generations. I hope you will consider our museum in your estate planning. In addressing these changes, I think our Italian heritage offers us an anchor - stability and peace of mind.

Our Italian Christmas traditions are a true treasure and many of them are included in this newsletter. Tradition is the transmission of customs from generation to generation that has been used by people in a particular group for a long time. I encourage you to carry on our treasured Italian Christmas traditions. You may have to tweak some of them; i.e., instead of seven fishes, serve only three! Our Italian Christmas Market will offer many items to help you keep alive our Italian Christmas traditions. The Christmas season is a wonderful time of the year. Make it extra special this year by celebrating with some of our time-honored Italian traditions!

On behalf of the Officers, Board of Trustees, and myself, you are wished a blessed Buon Natale and a new year filled with happiness and good health!

Prof./Cav. Philip J. DiNovo

 

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE October 2014

I recently visited the Saratoga National Historical Park where the epic Battle of Saratoga took place in 1777 marking the turning point in America's Revolutionary War. The heroic events that were key to winning American independence are featured in artifact displays, exhibits, museum dioramas, etc. The exhibits give proper credit to women, African Americans and American Indians. However, you won't find the contribution of Italians or Italian Americans during America's Revolutionary War! You will have to visit our museum to learn about our important contributions. So, the obvious question.. Why have an Italian American museum?.. .is therefore answered. Often, our contributions are left out of American History books and very few of America's museums will tell our story. It is, therefore, left to us to tell our own story. The American public and future generations of Italian Americans need to know about our contributions to the United States. It is very expensive and requires many sacrifices but without our museum our contributions will not be known. Growing up and with all my degrees, I was never told about the contribution of Italian Americans at any level of my education. We need your support so that we may continue our very important mission.

Follow us on Facebook! Join the conversations, and share your thoughts and opinions. Get a bird's eye view of Association and museum happenings. Also, sign up for our free email newsletter. Please go to our website: www.americanitalianmuseum.org for details.

October is Italian Heritage and Culture Month, anopportunity to make time to learn more about your Italian heritage and for all of us to share our heritage with the whole community. Did you know that Columbus Day is no longer a state holiday in Colorado since the politically correct do not see Christopher Columbus as a hero? His discovery changed the world for the better and we must do a more thorough job of telling the true story of Columbus' many contributions. We honor him in spite of the fact that he was not perfect.. .and neither are his detractors. For this reason, in solidarity with others or on your own, do your best to really celebrate Columbus Day this year!

November is a month filled with Italian and Italian-American celebrations. This newsletter highlights a number of events and we invite you to celebrate with us and in your own homes as well.

We look forward to those times when children visit our museum. There is plenty for young people to see and learn. They have a unequaled way to experience history. For instance, we have a life-sized replica of a Roman soldier in uniform. Kids enjoy having their picture taken with him! When youngsters visit in a group we provide a unique chance for them to experience a little of what life was like for the 19th and 2e century immigrants - all on a "kid-friendly" level. In addition, admission to the museum is always free for children.

Our newly-opened Italian Cultural Center makes it possible for us to offer new events as well as expand our class and program offerings. We would like to present concerts, poetry readings, dinners and events that generate sufficient support. Please let us know the kinds of activities that interest you so that we might better plan programs worthwhile for us to offer and in which you would be willing to participate. The Italian Cultural Center increases our expenses, thereby making us even more dependent on fundraising. Our hope is that you will show support for the events we hold.

In closing, I trust you understand and appreciate the many challenges we face in carrying out our mission. We are very short on volunteers and our expenses continue to increase. We have the largest Italian American museum in the East and we are trying our best to offer the public a museum that truly represents the Italian American community accurately. Thank you for your past support and I ask your continuance because without it we will not be successful.

Prof./Cav. Philip J. DiNovo

 


OUR HISTORY ~ 1979-2014

by Prof./Cav. Philip J. DiNovo

  On Tuesday, June 12, 1979 I invited eight Italian American professors to meet with me in the Department of Law lounge at Syracuse University.  I had previously read Richard Gambino’s book, Blood of My Blood, finding it so powerful that I was compelled to do something to preserve our Italian heritage. Other groups were discovering their “roots”; most Italian American organizations were social clubs. I felt strongly that in order to preserve our Italian heritage we needed an organization that was more than just social. Consensus in our small group at that meeting was that we should form an Association whose mission would be to record and preserve our Italian heritage and culture. They elected me as president, my first directive being to arrange a dinner meeting in honor of Christopher Columbus. The event subsequently took place on October 12, 1979 at Merrill House on the campus of Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y.  Our speaker was Assemblyman John Zagame and his topic was Italian Americans.   

 

  Between 1980 and 1989, our association held two conferences per year all over central New York with each event having a particular theme. There were four or five speakers on various topics and a main speaker following the dinner. Many of those speakers were people of note from a president of one of the largest universities in the nation to presidents of national Italian American organizations.

  The  names  of    generous   donors  and outstanding members can be found all over our museum. So many of our members, past and present, have and are making sacrifices so that we can carry out our important mission. Each and every member is important; we need everyone in order to remain vibrant.

 

  We have many challenges: raising needed funds, obtaining and keeping a sufficient number of volunteers, and building upon our membership. I know we can meet these challenges, but it requires sacrifice and commitment. I am also aware that I repeat myself, but repetition is the mother of learning! We must have much more help if we are to adequately meet the serious challenges that we face.

 

  The first three years were difficult and required the expenditure of thousands of dollars provided by yours truly. I was told over and over again that there was not enough interest or commitment to warrant such perseverance. Presently, we have over one thousand members in forty states and several nations. We operate the largest Italian American museum in the east and our property is estimated to be worth more than one million dollars. We have many reasons to celebrate our 35th birthday. We have carried out our mission by serving the Italian American community and the general public very well! Our 35th birthday is a time to celebrate, appreciate our accomplishments, and resolve to continue our mission. Your support will make it possible for us to pass on our invaluable treasure, our Italian heritage.

 

 
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