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New interactive exhibits at Isla Center for the Arts

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 by Allyson Chiu

Guam - Island residents now have the opportunity to take a trip back in time. The Isla Center for the Arts is now home to two new interactive exhibits.

"Journey Stories", a national exhibit, was brought to Guam through a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service Museum on Main Street Program and the Guam Humanities Council. The other exhibit is called "Sindalu: Chamorro Journeys in the US Military".

Journey Stories allows people to understand how the United States became the cultural melting pot that it is today. GHC executive director Dr. Kimberlee Kihleng said, "For the national exhibit Journey Stories focuses on the mobility of America. Transportation migration. Back in the earliest periods when the country was founded so you have British, French coming here to the United States and then you have pushing the Native Americans further west. You have the journey story of enforced migration with slavery and then of course more positive immigration stories, becoming Americans looking at the railroad, airplanes just the whole notion of mobility and travel and migration," she told KUAM News.

According to Dr. Kihleng, these particular exhibits were chosen based on their relevancy to Guam and its people. She added, "So many different people have come to Guam so you have the indigenous Chamorro people of course and you have Filipino more recent immigrants from other parts of Micronesia so there's always been a coming and going and diverse communities. So we thought it would be very important to take Journey Stories as the national narrative and try to connect it to our history and our experiences here on Guam," she said.

Sindalu has a narrower focus - Chamorros and their storied relationship with Americans. "When we bring the Smithsonian exhibits to Guam we really want to focus on the connection between the national story and the local narrative. So the local narrative we chose to focus on military journeys and relationship to the Chamorro people because we have a very long relationship on Guam with the Navy and the Chamorros have had a very long partnership with the military since the initial colonization of Guam by America in 1898, particularly the Navy," she explained.

The free exhibit opened its doors to the public yesterday and will be on island for two months. People can tour the exhibit Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm and on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm. They will be treated to interactive exhibits where they can read and listen to people's stories. "I think it's a really an important part of Guam's history and it's really been an important experience for Chamorro people some of it very contentious some of it more positive. But it's really an important part of our island's history that needs to be addressed and looked at and seen," Dr. Kihleng said.

In addition to the exhibit free supplementary programs are being offered such as film discussions and scholarly lectures. For more information on the exhibit itself or these programs contact the Guam Humanities Council at 472-4460/61. 
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