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Cultural Diversity

Immigration and Caricature:
Ethnic Images from the Appel Collection

Click here to see samples from our exhibition.

"Interesting display depicting both realities and conceived realities of the attitudes faced by immigrants—provoking."

"Very telling of the social un-consciousness of the time. Very revealing, unsettling and truthful." —Visitor comments, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Kalamazoo, MI

This exhibition explores the role of caricature and stereotype in forming American values and attitudes about the multicultural development of the United States. It utilizes a collection of immigrant and ethnic caricatures from popular graphics dating primarily from the Civil War to World War I, a period of massive migration to the United States. To modern Americans, the contents are sometimes humorous, sometimes very disturbing. Nevertheless, the collection offers great insight into American cultural attitudes and is a remarkable resource for the study of American cultural history. The items used in this exhibition consist of a variety of print media such as cartoons, postcards, trade cards, and prints and lithographs, all of which come from over 4,000 pieces donated to the MSU Museum by Dr. John and Selma Appel. Materials from their collection have been loaned to numerous exhibitions on ethnic images and immigration throughout the United States and the Appels have written many publications on the subject.


No current bookings, this exhibit is available.

This exhibition has been displayed at the following sites: The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, Philadelphia, PA; Dreams of Freedom Museum, Boston, MA; Immigration Law Foundation, Washington, DC; Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Kalamazoo, MI; Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, MI; South Dakota State Historical Society, Pierre, SD; Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, Glen Cove, NY; Beaumier Upper Penninsula Heritage Center, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI; Schoolcraft College, Livonia, MI; Stauth Memorial Museum, Montezuma, KS; Holland Museum, Holland, MI; and Mariposa Museum and World Cultural Center, Peterborough, NH.

  Rental fee (8-week period) : $1,500, plus shipping
  Number of pieces: 37 framed works
  Running feet required: 50-75 running feet
  Insurance Value: $15,000
  Security requirement: Lockable, limited access display area; trained guards or comparable protection system; provisions to prevent public from touching objects; object handling by museum professionals; temperature and light controls; fire protection according to local ordinances
  Additional materials available: Press materials.

This exhibition was funded by John and Selma Appel and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Photo of The Mortar of Assimilation caroon, Puck magazine, June 26, 1889.

Puck, June 26, 1889.





























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