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Italian American Museums Across America


American Italian Heritage Museum, in Albany, NY
Prof./Cav. Philip J. DiNovo - President/Director

The American Italian Heritage Association (AIHA) operated the Italian Cultural Center & Museum located at 668 Catherine Street, Utica, New York (Utica's "Little Italy" - east side of the city) 1985. It was closed late in 1998 so that plans for the new national museum in Albany, NY could begin. In 1979, Prof./Cav. Philip J. DiNovo gave birth to the idea of a Italian American Cultural Organization. He invited eight Italian American professors to a meeting at the Law School , Syracuse University, Syracuse , NY . Those attending agree to organize the American Italian Heritage Association to record and preserve our Italian heritage. The Association has an outstanding record: publishing five books, for 16 years held two conferences a year in different parts of the state, has set up exhibits, sponsored many cultural programs, worked with schools and colleges, published various publications, sponsored two Italian folk dance groups, a Italian choir, has had outreach events with other ethnic groups, marched in parades, set up booths at various fiestas', offered many classes for children and adults, set up a speakers bureau, held Italian food festivals & events. These and many other events have helped to keep alive our Italian heritage and culture. Contact:

Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, Staten Island, NY
John Dabbene, President

The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum is owned by the National Order Sons of Italy Foundation and administered by the New York Grand Lodge Order Sons of Italy in America. This National Landmark is preserved as a memorial to the lives of Antonio Meucci the true inventor of the telephone and Giuseppe Garibaldi, a legendary hero who championed the unification of the Italy. Today the museum offers historical tours, Italian language programs for all levels, school programs for K-12, permanent and temporary exhibitions, lectures and concerts. Additionally, the museum serves as a repository for Italian American Heritage and Culture.

Italian American Museum, in New York City
Founder & President Dr. Joseph V. Scelsa, Ed.D.

The Italian American Museum is now located in its permanent home at 155 Mulberry Street in the heart of New York’s “Little Italy”. This historic location on the corner of Mulberry and Grand Streets once housed “Banca Stabile” which was founded by Francesco Rosario Stabile in 1885. During its heyday, the bank offered the newly arrived immigrants from Italy much more than financial services. It was a link for the Immigrants in the United States with their relatives in Italy. In addition to a full range of banking services, it also provided the following services: telegraph, travel via steam ships, import-export, notary public, and post office; a kind of all in one immigrant community service center. It has been restored and preserved, and is now open to the public. It now serves as the cornerstone of the Italian American Museum from which we will tell our story in America. The Italian American Museum was born on June 12, 2001 when it was officially chartered under the aegis of the University of the State of New York, Education Department as a museum. The purposes of which, are to establish and maintain a museum dedicated to Italian Americans.

Italian American Museum of Los Angeles

The Italian American Museum is located in the Italian Hall, a historic building in downtown Los Angeles that was constructed in 1908 to serve as a social and cultural center for the Italian community. Located in what was once the core of the city’s little Italy, the Italian Hall was the site of countless events such as weddings, banquets, meetings, rallies, concerts and dances. Today, the Italian Hall is the oldest surviving structure in Los Angeles built specifically for Italian occupancy. When the historic significance of the Italian Hall became evident in 1988, the Italian community organized a group to secure use of the Hall and raise funds to develop a museum. The Historic Italian Hall Foundation was incorporated in 1993, and in 1998, was granted a 501 (c) 3 exemption as a non-profit organization. Slated to open in 2011, the Italian American Museum will feature historical and art exhibitions, an oral history and research archive and a multi-media center. The Museum will serve as a mixed-use facility, hosting lectures, festivals, meetings and a variety of community events. It will be cooperatively administered by the Historic Italian Hall Foundation and the City of Los Angeles.

Museo Italo Americano, in San Francisco
Paola Bagnatori, Managing Director

The Museo ItaloAmericano is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to Italian and Italian-American art and culture. Established in 1978, the Museo ItaloAmericano is a non-profit institution governed by a Board of Directors. The mission of the Museo ItaloAmericano is twofold: to research, collect, and display works of Italian and Italian-American artists, and to promote educational programs for the appreciation of Italian art and culture, thereby preserving the heritage of Italian-Americans for future generations.

National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, in Chicago
Jerry Colangelo, Chairman

In 1977, George Randazzo founded the Italian American Boxing Hall of Fame as a way to raise money for a struggling local Catholic youth program. Randazzo collected boxing photos and memorabilia, a hobby that inspired him to organize a fundraising dinner that brought together a list of boxing greats and celebrities. The dinner honored twenty-three former Italian American boxing world champions, including Rocky Graziano, Jake LaMotta, Sammy Angott, Willie Pep, and posthumously Rocky Marciano, Primo Carnera and Tony Canzoneri. The results were so overwhelming that a friend and local businessman, Don Ponte, encouraged Randazzo to start a Hall of Fame to honor all Italian American athletes. One year later, the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame was founded as a non-profit, educational institution. The first induction ceremony and banquet was a star-studded event, as the Hall of Fame honored Lou Ambers, Eddie Arcaro, Charlie Trippi, Gino Marchetti, Dom DiMaggio and "The Yankee Clipper," Joe DiMaggio. Mrs. Vince Lombardi also accepted the posthumous induction of her late husband, Coach Vince Lombardi.

In 1988 the Hall of Fame moved from its original headquarters in Elmwood Park to Arlington Heights. The NIASHF enjoyed a new beginning in 1998 with the help of Phoenix Suns Chairman/CEO Jerry Colangelo. A 1994 Inductee and Chicago Heights native, Colangelo was asked by Randazzo to serve as Chairman of an ambitious new Hall of Fame building project in the heart of Chicago's Little Italy. Colangelo accepted, and has succeeded in bringing together civic-minded men and women from across the country in support of the project. In 2000 the new facility was dedicated as "The Jerry Colangelo Center," a tribute to his efforts and leadership.

American Italian Cultural Center, in New Orleans

To honor and celebrate the American Italian Culture of Louisiana, past, present and future.

The American Italian Cultural Center promotes the culture and heritage of the American Italian community by offering Italian language and culture classes, seminars, concerts, and events. This center will be the leading institution preserving and celebrating the American Italian history of Louisiana. The impact will be felt through increased awareness of how the American Italian community has shaped local, regional, and national history and culture. Our values include education, inspiration, high quality, collaboration, and financial integrity. We provide programming opportunities that allow the community to come together to learn about the people, places, and events of our rich history and continuing significance..


CiaoAmerica Updated October 6, 2014


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