Museum’s ‘Little Syria’ Exhibit Going to Ellis Island

DETROIT (AP) -

The Arab American National Museum is sending its exhibition about one of the earliest Arab-American settlements to Ellis Island, the same place where many of those immigrants first set foot in the U.S.

The “Little Syria” exhibit documents the once-thriving Lower Manhattan community that was home to many Arabs and some of America’s first Arabic language newspapers during the immigration wave of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The exhibit was created by the Smithsonian-affiliated Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, which is home to one of the nation’s largest Arab-American populations.

Arab museum director Devon Akmon says having the exhibit at the historic immigrant gateway shares a largely unknown piece of history with a new audience.

“Our goal is always to place the Arab-American story in the context of the great American story,” he said.

Most of the neighborhood was razed to build the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and later the World Trade Center site.