Imagine a place where you could go and spend the day surrounded by the art and artifacts of the Italian American experience, where you can immerse yourself in our story, and learn new and surprising facts about the history of Italians in America… all free of charge!
Well, if you’re lucky enough to live near or visit Los Angeles, California, this Italian American dream has been a reality since 2015, when the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles (IAMLA) opened its doors in the historic Italian Hall of Downtown LA.
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of countless Italian Americans, and the leadership of our guest, IAMLA co-founder and executive director Marianna Gatto, the City of Angels is not just home to the nation’s fifth-largest Italian American population, but also to one of its finest and foremost museums dedicated to studying and sharing the Italian American experience.
We sit down with Marianna for this special Italian American Heritage Month episode to hear the story of how the IAMLA came to be, what aspects of the Italian American story it seeks to share, and why in just a few short years it has become a destination for hundreds of thousands of Italians and Italian Americans not just from Los Angeles, but from around the world.
We’ll examine what it means to preserve the material culture of Italian America, explore the other Italian American museums working to preserve our history around the nation, and ponder whether future generations might see the birth of a truly national Italian American Museum.
It’s a long overdue return to recording in-person, with a guest who is a true friend. If you know the Italian American Podcast, you know this is going to be an episode filled with interesting conversation, curious tangents, and a whole lot of infectious laughter, so we’re confident it’s one you won’t want to miss!