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Swedish American Museum

1.You will make 2 site visits to institutions/groups and neighborhoods/communities.  At least one visit will be to an institution or group (e.g., churches/mosques/synagogues, cultural centers, museums, non-profit organizations) and at least one visit will be to a neighborhood/community (e.g., home for the elderly, Chinatown, other ethnic/racial community/neighborhood).

2.You should understand your site visits as field research.  As a sociologist you will go into a community or organization in order to observe behaviors related to issues we discuss in class.  Spend at least three hours observing your surroundings and the people for data related to diversity issues and that will assist you in answering the questions below. Pay particular attention to the questions in 3 and 4 below.  Take notes.  If appropriate take written notes during your visit.  If you can’t take notes during your visit, then take mental notes and write them down immediately after you finish your visit.  You must turn in your notes with your paper.  You should have pages of hand-written notes.  Taking notes is part of your grade for this assignment.

3.Approximately half of your paper will be dedicated to personal observations and a description of the site; what you saw, heard, smelled or touched.  Describe the place you visited.  What did it look like?  What types of people did you see?  Describe languages, clothes, symbols or other examples of ethnic, religious, or other difference.  How did you feel?  Were you the only person of your race/ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. there?  What did you learn about the community or institution?  How are you similar to and different from the people you saw?  Did your visit challenge any stereotypes that you had of this population?  How so? (see p. 79)

4.With the other half of the paper you will discuss three of the following questions/issues:

a).  Andersen and Hill Collins note that one of the most important aspects of gender, race, and class difference concerns questions of power.  In order to bring about justice and equality in our society, we must not only see diversity in terms of interesting cultural differences but also recognize that race, class, gender, etc. are all part of a matrix of domination that influence the relative power, privilege and prestige of various categories of people in our society.  How do issues of power relate to what you sensed in your site visit?  In what ways do prejudice, discrimination and stereotypes affect the people at the site you visited?

b). How does your visit to this site challenge the myth of the assimilationist, incorporating melting pot society described on pages 3-5 of your book?  How do the people at your site resist or accept assimilation?

c). How is this local setting influenced by global issues?  What does this setting reveal about global changes?  See pp. 13-14, chapter 3.  Related issues include immigration and economic restructuring.

d) How did you know the people at your site were different than you?  Was it phenotype?  Linguistic difference? Other cultural markers?

e) On page 260 of our book the authors write, “social division always correlates with linguistic differences.”  In what way does your site visit illustrate this statement?  What social divisions are evident between you and the people at your site?  How are these divisions evident in different ways of speaking?

f) Chapter 13 of our book helps us understand class diversity.  At your site how are class differences illustrated?  Is the site you visited diverse in terms of class?  What symbols of class difference did you see?  Are the people at your site of a different class than you?  How do you know?

Swedish American Museum

This assignment is based on the two visits that I recently had to the two different places ‘Swedish American Museum’ and ‘Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture’. Swedish American Museum is located in Chicago while Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture is also based in Chicago. The observation will be based on the experiences that I have and my ways of judgment which are influenced by various factors like the language, color, culture, and others. The study is purposefully based on understanding the employability skills in regards to social aspects.

Swedish American Museum is apart from its infrastructural stature has something to offer. I felt delighted to visit the center, not because of the ecstatic view it had but the collection of information that it offers. I have found that it is a core member of the Chicago Cultural Alliance. It is center of 25 ethnic museums. It is also termed as the cultural centers in Chicago (Swedishamericanmuseum.org, 2018). I have found this interesting for kids as well as for those who are keen to learn. The museum in particular displays the way Swedish have taken to enter America to establish it as the largest period of migration (Swedishamericanmuseum.org, 2018). I have found this as a very cheaper resource to know the ancestors of Swedish people. It is like a heritage that reminds the modern day Swedish people about the past of the early day's Swedish people.

I have found this very informative as well. Apart from displaying contents on the Swedish migration to America, it also has a section that tells about the religion. It has ‘alter’ and ‘railing’ that displays a church which had been in the ancient times in Chicago. On top of all, I have largely found this as a good resource to know the Swedish migration to America. Moreover, it also narrates the impact of the migration on the country. It is a good resource to know the Swedish people who have now become a part of America (Swedishamericanmuseum.org, 2018).  

Balzekas Museum

The Balzekas Museum is the largest repository of Lithuanian culture outside Lithuania. I have found the museum very attractive and informative as well. This was indeed a very good resource which had helped me to know the Lithuanian culture being away from its home country. It displays a collection of folk arts like textiles, amber, Easter eggs, traditional Lithuanian costumes, and dolls. It is a replica of the medieval castle and Lithuanian farmhouse. These are the main attraction of the museum. I have also come across the several departments that are there in the museum like Genealogy, Humanities, Fine Arts, Philatelic, Numismatics and the research & library center. There are maps also which draws Lithuania's dramatic and eye-catching history. I have found this informative and engaging as well (Balzekasmuseum.org, 2018). Before visiting the place, I had no ideas on the different cultures that have been showcased in the museum. Additionally, the visit has also helped me to enhance my knowledge base in the historical events. I had also found an Audio/Visual Room which is used for lectures, screening and photography exhibitions. Nevertheless, I have also found there a connection between the local schools and the museum. The various local schools and the educators rely on the museum for the various subjects from medieval history to immigration. The museum organizes various programs to support the highlighted cause and benefit the local educational institution. The museum has in it a museum specially dedicated to children (Balzekasmuseum.org, 2018). In my opinion, the museum which has been dedicated to children is really informative for the kids. They will really get a very good chance of learning historical events.

Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture

In my visit to the museums, I have come across the few historical events that particularly focused its study on the distribution of power based on gender, race, ethnic and others. The differences can be understood from one experience that I had in my visits to both the places (Pohl, 2017). I came to know that women are treated as if they have no power or they are just born to follow their leaders who will be at all the time ‘the men’. Women are given less values at all the platforms like the educational places or the workplace. The history has reminded me of the fact that women are still being treated as if they are just made to follow their leaders. They can never be a leader. This is because they have several kinds of issues which are like a big obstacle to their success (Pohl, 2017). They need to take leaves during their pregnancy and they are also very less available during the times when they are needed to take care of their kids. On the other hand, racism is another issue that I had come across by being in the museum. This still exist at the various places like in the academic centers or at the workplaces. Another important fact that I came to know is about the ethnic people that had been migrated to different country from various other parts of world like the Africa (Okihiro, 2014). 

Cultural assimilation is not true which I have also sound while being in the visits to the two museums that I have already mentioned. In my visit, I have come across the few historical facts and have found that cultural assimilation is not true at all the time. This is also not true that migrant people are being forced to adopt the culture of the superficial culture or the dominant culture (Campbell & Kean, 2016). In America itself, there exists a varied kind of culture. However, every single culture is able to enjoy its beliefs and faiths. This will not be an appropriate answer to the migration of Swedish and other immigrants from the different parts of world to America that they are being forced to adopt the American culture. This is undeniable that there are racial attacks in the country. However, this will still be unjustifiable to say that cultural assimilation and incorporating melting pot society is a fact with the migrants being in the countries other than their home countries (Campbell & Kean, 2016).

Migration of ethnic groups does affect the local setting by bringing changes to the local economy (Stowe, 2017). I have found by visiting to the museums that immigrant groups do produce a notable impact on the local economy of a country. They significantly contribute in the economy restructuring which means that the change can be both positive and negative. Economic restructuring and immigration of ethnic groups is a global issue that affects the social, political, environmental and the economic aspects of the local country. The change thus brought will later become irreversible. Changes can be either good or bad in regards to the concerned country (Stowe, 2017).

Conclusion: 

To conclude, this can be said that visits to places that carry loads of historical and societal facts with it may be very helpful for higher studies and the professional career in future. I will definitely be benefitted from this while being in the workplace. I have now made up my mind for the cultural differences which I have to come across while being in the workplace. The informative session of my visits to the museums will then assist me in handling the situation appropriately.

References:

Balzekasmuseum.org. (2018). About – Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture. [online] Available at: https://balzekasmuseum.org/about/#.Wox07KiWbIV [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].

Campbell, N., & Kean, A. (2016). American cultural studies: an introduction to American culture. Routledge.

Okihiro, G. Y. (2014). Margins and mainstreams: Asians in American history and culture. University of Washington Press.

Pohl, F. K. (2017). Framing America: a social history of American art. Thames & Hudson Limited.

Stowe, W. W. (2017). Going Abroad: European Travel in Nineteenth-Century American Culture. Princeton University Press.

Swedishamericanmuseum.org (2018). [online] swedishamericanmuseum.org. Available at: https://swedishamericanmuseum.org/2.0/ [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].

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