LOWELL, MA — The National Park Service invites the public to the grand opening of the One City, Many Cultures exhibit on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. Please join us at Boarding House Park in Lowell National Historical Park for the opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Afterward, the celebration continues with activities and performances featuring local community organizations and performing arts groups from noon to 4 p.m.
One City, Many Cultures is an immersive and interactive introduction to Lowell as a vibrant, multi-cultural city. The exhibit is presented in sights, sounds, touches, and even smells, and in some of the many languages spoken in the greater Lowell area, including English, Spanish, and Khmer. Co-created with community members, it reflects how culture shapes and connects people and communities through the stories of Lowell over time.
“For the past five years, more than 30 diverse community members contributed their time and talents in developing the exhibit and over 100 more people provided material to help convey the many cultures of the city in their own words and in their own ways. We can’t wait to share these inspiring stories,” said Julie Galonska, superintendent of Lowell National Historical Park.
“I started this process when I was teaching at Lowell Public Schools and after each meeting I had the greatest conversations with my students about what it means to be a Lowellian, what foods and traditions we share across cultures, and how we communicate in and between families. I’m looking forward to these conversations among exhibit visitors,” said Laura Lamarre-Anderson, a Lowell resident involved in developing the exhibit.
One City, Many Cultures is also a living exhibit – a collection of stories that grows over time as people interact and engage. From watching dance and artmaking to listening in on conversations around a touch-screen kitchen table, visitors can connect their own life experiences to those in the exhibit, as well as encounter cultures and ways of life different from their own. There are also many opportunities for visitors to contribute their thoughts and stories.
The grand opening celebration will take place on National Public Lands Day, Saturday, Sept. 23, with an opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Afterward attendees can participate in hands-on arts and crafts, games from around the world, and a community art piece. Organizations including the Tsongas Industrial History Center, Center for Lowell History: UMass Lowell Archives and Special Collections, the African Community Center of Lowell, the Latinx Community Center for Empowerment, and many others will be at the event with information and activities. Musical performances by Angkor Dance Troupe, Greater Lowell Indian Cultural Association, and others will be ongoing from noon to 4 p.m.
Activities on September 23 are family friendly and free and open to the public. For a detailed schedule, visit: https://go.nps.gov/1j6dtn.