“Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.”
–John F. Kennedy
What does it mean to become an American? In partnership with CUNY’s Citizenship Now!, we’ve launched The Citizenship Project, a major initiative to help the more than one million legal immigrants in the New York region become American citizens through free civics and American history classes and other educational and digital learning tools.
The New-York Historical Society is committed to telling the American story and fostering a community of learners to consider what it means to be an American, past and present. For more than a decade, New-York Historical has hosted naturalization ceremonies at the Museum, celebrating new American citizens as they join our nation, and our exhibitions, programs, and educational initiatives delve into our nation’s history and explore issues such as American government, immigration, culture, and civics.
Join us for free classes, educational programs, special installations, and family activities that examine the basic principles of our American Constitution and democratic institutions.
FREE CLASSES FOR GREEN CARD HOLDERS
Beginning summer 2017, free civics and history classes will be available to help green card holders prepare for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization exam. Nine sessions will take place on-site at New-York Historical at three different times and intensities—weekend immersion, evening program, and weekday program—so participants can choose the class structure that best suits their work and home life:
Through these courses, made possible by generous grants from the Ford Foundation and Mellon Foundation, participants will learn about pivotal moments in U.S. history by examining objects and documents from our collections.
Courses Start This Summer!
July 15 – August 12
Saturdays, 8:30 am – 5 pm
July 24 – September 20
Mondays and Wednesdays, 6 – 8 pm
July 25 – September 19
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 – 8 pm
August 12 – September 9
Saturdays, 8:30 am – 5 pm
September 6 – October 4
Wednesdays and Fridays, 9 am – 1 pm
ONLINE QUIZ: THINK YOU COULD PASS THE NATURALIZATION EXAM?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization exam comprises 10 random questions chosen from a total of 100—can you answer just six correctly? Take our online quiz to find out!
This quiz features questions from the naturalization exam paired with objects from our Museum and Library collections to create key connections and context in American history using object-based learning.
PUBLIC PROGRAMS AND TALKS
A host of programs all year long featuring historians and experts explore what it means to be an American, from immigration issues to the concepts and ideals that founded our nation to the future of our justice system and government.
Watch and listen to select video and audio from our archive of public programs—including a recent program on immigration and voting rights and how America protects the civil and political rights of newcomers.
Walk through Museum galleries guided by an engaging Scavenger Hunt that tests your knowledge of American history and civics, finding objects from America’s past and learning about the subjects tested on the naturalization exam. Test questions and answers are also displayed on a wide, digital screen at the Museum’s entrance and on an interactive tablet by the lobby’s elevator.
Throughout the spring and summer, children can become History Detectives and discover immigration history through games, sketching, and activities with specially designed briefcases housing “detective supplies.” Learn more.
Join us over Independence Day Weekend (July 1–2) and on Tuesday, July 4th, to celebrate American Independence by exploring the founding of the United States through the eyes and lives of our Founding Era’s diverse citizens. Learn more.
New Americans Children's History Book Prize
In addition to our annual Children's History Book Prize, this year we're pleased to recognize a new award that speaks to history, issues, and personal stories of immigrants in the United States. The inaugural winner, It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas, is a unique portrait of a young Iranian girl’s adjustment to life in this country as she and her family face prejudice. Learn more about the New Americans Children's History Book Prize and this year's winner.
EXHIBITIONS AND DISPLAYS
This summer, join us to ponder what it means to be an American through a series of exhibitions and installations, including World War I Beyond the Trenches, exploring how American citizens, and artist in particular, responded to the nation's first international war, which ushered in modern America; Thomas Jefferson: The Private Man, from the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, showcasing a copy of the Declaration of Independence in Jefferson's hand and other objects that shed light on our third president; Saving Washington, uncovering the contributions of the women who shaped diplomacy and democracy in the early years of our nation; and American Visionary: John F. Kennedy's Life and Times, highlighting public and private moments in the life of one our nation's most charismatic leaders.
Throughout the summer, we're also celebrating the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in New York State in 1917. See special documents about the 19th-century women's movement on view at the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, and learn about the fight for voting rights at our teen-curated exhibition on Governors Island, Battle for the Ballot: The Centennial of Women's Suffrage in New York. Through these special installations and our new, unprecedented Center for Women's History, we're proud to lead the way in spotlighting the vital role that women citizens have played in shaping the United States.
Through these special installations and our new, unprecedented Center for Women's History, we're proud to lead the way in spotlighting the vital role that women citizens have played in shaping the United States. Past installations such as We the People and Messages for our President-Elect encouraged visitors to consider and share their own perceptions of what it means to be an American and roles in democracy. Other past exhibitions such as The First Jewish Americans: Freedom and Culture in the New World and Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion examined the American experience from the immigrant perspective. Learn more about our exhibitions.