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Forgotten Gateway Immigration Exhibition at HMNS

Coming to America Through Galveston Island

Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America Through Galveston Island was on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science from Oct. 1, 2010 - March 6, 2011.

From 1845 to 1924, the Port of Galveston was a major gateway to American immigration. This exhibition is the first of its kind to explore Galveston’s legacy as a port of entry on a national scale. It brings to light the little-known yet rich era of Galveston’s history and importance to the growth of Texas and the American Midwest.

While New York’s Ellis Island’s location made it a natural port for Europeans, Galveston attracted a diverse group of people from Europe, Mexico, South and Central America and even Asia. Before the Civil War, it was a major port for forced migration – the sale and transport of slaves from Africa and other points in the United States to Texas.

Immigration Experience Illuminated Through Personal Stories

The exhibit highlights enduring themes in the history of immigration, including: the dangers of the journey; making a life in a new land; navigating bureaucracy; confronting discrimination; and becoming “American.”  These trials and tribulations are illuminated through personal stories, dynamic visitor interactive kiosks, engaging media pieces, and more than 200 original artifacts and documents.

Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America Through Galveston Island was created and curated by the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum.

Support for this exhibit comes from The National Endowment for the Humanities; Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. & Helen C. Kleberg Foundation; The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation; The Summerlee Foundation; Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund; The Moody Foundation; Scurlock Foundation; and Humanities Texas.  Local support provided by the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation.

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