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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 2018

There were a number of events and fundraisers which resulted in our having a very busy summer. Therefore, when I started earnestly compiling the December/January newsletter in the middle of August all of the summer events were still fresh in my mind. This past summer was the best One since we opened our museum in Albany. We have had visitors from all over New York State in addition to people from the following states: AZ, CO. IA, IL, KS, MA, MO, RI, NC, FL, CT, NC, GA, XTA, NJ, OK, VT, and last, but not least, CA! International visitors from Italy, Brazil and Canada came as well to see our renowned museum.

I want to thank all of you for being long-time members, for those who pay for your adult children's membership, and would like to express gratitude for the personal support of my family, friends and former students. We have only a handful of people who are keys to our success and they need the membership support, encouragement and kind words - all of which are morale boosters.

We worked tremendously hard to save Columbus Day. We sent out informative material to key people in the community and hosted a very successful celebration and reception at our open-house on the October 8th holiday. Also, the Post-Gazette (Boston, MA), the largest Italian American newspaper in the New !England States, published a series of my articles about Christopher Columbus and were kind enough to give our museum some great publicity. Our efforts did indeed inform the public and help saved Columbus Day across the nation!

Two of our hard-working volunteers have moved out of New York State to be closer to their children. They will be greatly missed and difficult to replace. We ask you to seriously consider joining our dwindling legion of volunteers by helping us to carry out our important mission. We really need you!

If you have not yet paid for your AIHA&M 2019 membership, please do so today. We want to keep you as a member in good standing and need to inform everyone concerned that the next edition of our newsletter will be sent to paid up members only. We thank all of you who have paid your dues in a timely manner and acknowledge with much appreciation those members who also made a donation.

Tante grazie to our volunteers for all of their efforts on our behalf during 2018! Your service to our organization is sincerely appreciated. As we close out this year, it is a time of reflection. It was a successful year, but my concern is increasingly more focused on our future. We are not able to attract many new members who are under fifty years of age. I would love to have a Saturday Italian School similar to that of many other ethnic groups. We still maintain the goal of reaching and offering activities for those thirty-five & under. Do you have any suggestions? Are you willing to help us in this endeavor?

With the holiday season fast approaching, we will soon be celebrating Christmas and the New Year. It is a wonderful time of the year and we have a number of planned events that we hope you will support. This newsletter is filled with Italian Christmas traditions that I hope you will utilize this year. Our customs add so much to the Christmas season; they help make families stronger and help keep alive our Italian heritage and culture. Grandparents take note: you are in a unique position, call it a duty, to pass on these time-honored traditions to your families! I know it isn't easy to keep our Italian Christmas traditions alive but I encourage you to adapt them to your particular situation. For example, instead of offering seven fishes on Christmas Eve, change the number of fish offerings to three if that is more feasible. We also make shopping a bit easier for you by holding our Annual Italian Christmas Market (held after Thaiiksgiving) where you can purchase many items to enhance an Italian Christmas.

On behalf of the Officers and Board of Trustees, we wish you a blessed Buon Natale and Felice Anno Nuovo!

Porf./Cav. Philip J. DiNovo


Last summer my wife and I visited Barre, VT which proclaims itself as the “Granite Center of the World”. In 1914, almost one-quarter of the town’s population was Italian. Skilled stone-cutters and quarrymen from northern Italy settled in Barre in the 1890’s where their mark was left, still to be found in the stone creations, architecture and former institutions. The municipal population count is presently around 9,000 people. As it stands today there is no longer an active Italian American community other than what is listed here and gleaned from the information I could gather. How sad! The legacy in stone is beautiful but I had hoped I would find our Italian culture present and vibrant. I am now even more convinced that organizations like ours are needed in order to keep alive our Italian heritage and culture.

Regarding maintenance to our property, we were made aware that the chimney on the museum needs to be repaired at an estimated cost of approximately $3,000. It will take the equivalent of 120 membership dues payments just to pay that one bill. A friend of mine pronounced that I am very happy that things are going so well since I had not mentioned the subject of money in a long time. I know people don’t like to hear about financial concerns so I have recently tried hard not to mention such things. However, it is still an issue because our low membership dues amount cannot keep up with ever-increasing expenses. Thankfully, we are still in the black, only made possible by numerous fundraisers which are carried out by a handful of members. Needless to say, this is very exhausting, even to dedicated and hardworking individuals.

This being my 39th year as your President I have begun to reflect that my time is limited. I am trying my best to insure that our museum has a bright future, but it goes without saying that I need your help. Please become a volunteer, support our fundraisers and recruit new members. As always, my sincere thanks go out to all of you who are already doing whatever possible to maintain our status.

On a happy note I received a letter from a local Italian American organization’s President in which he stated that our museum is a treasure. More importantly, his organization plans on working with us in carrying out our mission. I have received a number of messages from across the United States thanking us for all the great work we are doing to preserve our Italian heritage. So many people have told me that they don’t have anything comparable to our Association & Museum where they reside and wish they lived in the area in order to take advantage of our many offerings. More importantly, it sounds as if they would also be willing to volunteer! I often tell them any manner of support they can give is most appreciated. It sure is uplifting to receive letters from around the country stating how much they enjoy our newsletter. Please take notice of the page in each issue of our newsletter that lists all the people who have become new members in the months before publication.

An obvious but no less important fact is that our future greatly depends on the next generation. We need your help to inform them of the value of their Italian heritage and culture. Do you have any ideas how we might do that? Are you willing to help? You are needed now more than ever!

We serve our community and connect you to your Italian heritage, to people, places, things and culture that enrich your life. We work very hard to unite you to the Italian American experience. Our organization is a pillar that helps ensure the continuity of our Italian heritage and culture in the United States. Its connectivity, indeed its survival, depends on each of us and we strongly encourage you to become involved. Your membership in the AIHA&M means that you are investing in the future. Keep in mind that with your support we are the liaisons to the heritage and culture of our ancestors. Invite family and friends to join so that they, too, may have the opportunity to support the many events on our calendar.

Again, to all of you who encourage us in so many ways to carry out our vital mission: thank you!

Prof./Cav. Philip J. DiNovo



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