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Smithsonian’s ‘Beyond Bollywood’ Hits the Road

After 18 months at the National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian’s landmark exhibition exploring the Indian American experience, “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation,” will close August 16 after being seen by several million people. Many more, organizers estimate, have viewed the exhibit through social media posts. But this is not the end of “Beyond Bollywood.”

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“’Beyond Bollywood’ was the Smithsonian's first broad look at the experiences and contributions of Indian immigrants and Indian Americans,” Dr. Masum Momaya, curator at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, told NBC News. Momaya said visitors from a variety of backgrounds would report that elements of the exhibit reminded them of their own immigrant stories, “such as shoes at the entrance of the exhibition, ambient music from the India of the 1960s and 1970s, black-and-white photographs of ancestors, and Corelle Ware plates and thalis."

Two traveling versions of the exhibit — one in India and one in the United States — will continue to show through 2019 to cities in India, California, Indiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina, and more. There is also a digital version as well as a play.

“The tour is an opportunity to bring the Smithsonian Institution outside of Washington DC and also to share what we've gathered with communities around the country,” said Momaya, “Showings around the country are also an invitation for local community members to share their stories and artifacts as well as their talents in the visual and performing arts with the hosting local cultural institutions.”

“There are many more stories than we could tell, and I hope the traveling exhibition unearths those stories and connects people to each other in their telling.”