Professor Philip J. DiNovo is the Founder and President of the esteemed American Italian Heritage Association and the American Italian Heritage Museum in Albany, New York. He has also been knighted by the Italian Government and is a respected figure in America’s Italian community

President's Message March 2019

Since our home says a lot about us by the way in which we decorate, it naturally becomes an extension of ourselves. Who we are and what is important to us in our living space helps define ourselves as persons. For instance, if we say we are Italian American is there anything in our home that supports that assertion? Having various symbols of our Italian heritage where we dwell is a constant reminder of our treasure. They may be in the form of paintings, photos, plaques, books, music, etc. If you wish to embrace this idea and you do not presently have tangible evidence of your Italian heritage in your home perhaps a visit to our museum Gift Shop might prove to be very helpful. Come over, take a look around you will be pleasantly surprised by the diverse Italian related items that we offer!

Does your family actually witness a commitment on your part that really makes them aware of the important role that Italian heritage and culture plays in their lives? Please do not give up the responsibility that you as a parent have of passing on to your loved ones the value of our Italian heritage. This applies to grandparents as well because they possess a wealth of knowledge that must be shared. Are we encouraging the younger generation to study the Italian language in high school, take Italian American Studies Courses offered at the college level or participate in Italian cultural enrichment programs that are available in other areas? Each of us has the ability to plant the o seed§ that will surely lead to the ancestral growth of future generations. Are we doing all we can in our families so that Italian heritage remains vibrant? An even more important question is this: if we don't do it, then who will?

On another note, over the past several years we unfortunately have lost track of long time members. We have tried to contact them, but our efforts have not been successful. We don't know whether those people moved, are in a senior living facility, or sadly, might have passed away. We have a volunteer who serves as our Sunshine Chairperson because we want to support and keep in touch with unheard-from members. Please be sure to let us know if you or another member of whom you may be aware is in any of the aforementioned circumstances. Our ability to perform this out-reach depends on the extent of information gleaned from various sources, including our friends and relatives. We want to do the right thing, so please help us to stay informed!

Be mindful of the fact that we are only a remnant of what was once a large dynamic Italian American community. We need your help to preserve our Italian heritage and pass it on to the next generation. Who will do this if we are unwilling? If you do your part you will have the satisfaction of keeping alive the treasured customs, memories and traditions that were passed on to us by our ancestors. It is imperative that we double down on our efforts as we look at how fast assimilation is taking place.

I think my extended family is much like yours with family members eminating from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. We must respect and show appreciation for our differences while holding on to our own "roots". Since the beginning of our Association we have encouraged everyone to become a member. As I have stated before we have welcomed many members who are not of Italian descent but are treated as equal members who believe and support our mission. It goes without saying that we are indeed happy that they chose to join our Association/Museum family. With April quickly approaching we look forward to Easter, the most important holiday in the Christian calendar. It is mainly a religious holiday in Italy where family, traditions and special foods are integral to the celebrations taking place on this Holy Day. We can all agree that the first school experience takes place in the home where family members, especially children, are nourished by keeping our Italian Easter, traditions alive. These traditions are seeds that we plant which encourage an appreciation of everything we value. How we celebrate is an important image of who we are and what is significant in our lives. Holy Week and Easter Sunday are certainly special times.

On behalf of the AIHA&M Officers and Board of Trustees I wish each and every one of you a very blessed Buona Pasqua!

Prof.Cav. Philip J. DiNovo

 In honor of the Italian immigrants who came to the United States of America, we are committed to record and preserve the contributions of our Italian Heritage and culture to our society through our newsletter, cultural programs, activities, exhibits, and outreach programs.