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Arts & Culture

Asian-American Smithsonian Exhibit Takes Jacksonville Visitors On Multi-Sensory Journey

Farryn James

A new exhibit at downtown Jacksonville’s library promises to take visitors on a journey through the history of the Asian-Pacific-American experience.

The temporary Smithsonian exhibit uses an audio app, artifacts and even a graphic novel to tell their story.

Library spokesman Chris Boivin walked through aisles of vibrant posters on the fourth floor of the main library Monday. There's a timeline of important historical events in the lives Asian and Pacific immigrants.

“What we’re looking at is we have several, large stand-up posters that cover all aspects of Asian-Pacific-American history,” Boivin said.

But the visiting Smithsonian exhibit is more than just a feast for the eyes.

“You see a little number on some of these posters, and the number represents a little app you can get for your phone where you can hear a video or a piece of audio that further explains some of the things you’re looking at,”  he said.

Bovin stopped in front of a glass case containing Asian-American artifacts going as far back as the early 19th century. He says the exhibit is only a starting point — the library is also holding Chinese and Japanese language classes and a forum, coming up Feb. 7, focusing on the Asian-Pacific-American experience in Northeast Florida.

Also, a graphic novel depicting the Japanese internment camps of World War II and building of the railroad is available for download from the Smithsonian website.

The library also has a list of reading to accompany the exhibit.

The Smithsonian exhibit “I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story” will be at the Jacksonville Public Library, located at 303 N. Laura St., through February.