NIAM has a home!

Thanks to the generosity of Umang and Paragi Patel, the National Indo-American Museum (NIAM), takes residence at its first “brick and mortar” home at 815 S Main Street, in Lombard, Illinois. The Umang and Paragi Patel Center opens to the public on Saturday, October 16, 2021 with its inaugural exhibition, E/Merge: Art of the Indian Diaspora.

The NATIONAL INDO-AMERICAN MUSEUM builds bridges across generations and connects cultures through the diverse, colorful stories of all Indian Americans.

E/Merge: Art of the Indian Diaspora curated by Shaurya Kumar, Chair of Faculty and Associate Professor at School of the Art Institute Chicago, the exhibition includes artists that have traversed international borders and have adopted the United States of America as their new home.

In an essay for the exhibition’s catalog, Kumar wrote, “Works in the exhibition challenge the pre-conceptions of what and how Diasporic artists represent themselves and their histories, and investigates the notions of origins, narratives of dispersal, and cultural differences under the conditions of globalism. Where do we, as members of the Indian diaspora in the US and elsewhere, locate ourselves in a time of globalization and mass migration? How does the work of contemporary artists locate itself in time – past, present, or future? How does the meaning of a work change when an artist or an artwork attempts to unpack multiple and multi-site narratives beyond the binary of master and counter-narratives?” These questions form the premise of the inaugural exhibition E/Merge: Art of the Indian Diaspora at the Patel Center.

A series of thoughtfully curated programs awaits visitors scheduled throughout the run of E/Merge: Art of the Indian Diaspora.

These programs will explore themes expressed by the artists and enrich understanding of the work on display. On site and virtual sessions will engage the public in talks featuring curator Shaurya Kumar and exhibiting artists, dialogue with diasporic scholars on the meaning of being Indian American, virtual artist studio visits, performances and panel discussions.

Expertly designed children’s programs will engage youth in creating art with the goal of interpreting their heritage traditions.

All programs schedules are subject to COVID protocol and CDC guidelines.

*Museum admission fee includes access to program scheduled on the same day.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Expositions of Transformations presented by Natya Dance Theatre featuring Vidya Govind and ensemble

NIAM is grateful for the efforts of Tamara Biggs, Director of Exhibitions at Chicago History Museum and a past president of NIAM’s board. She inspired our initiative to open the Umang and Paragi Patel Center with a meaningful art exhibition, was the main author of our grant to the NEA, and has guided the process of developing the exhibition and opening the museum.

“E/MERGE Art of the Indian Diaspora,” the opening exhibition
of the National Indo-American Museum’s new home,
Opens Saturday, October 16 at the Umang and Paragi Patel Center,
815 S Main Street, Lombard, Illinois.

Museum/exhibition visiting hours:
Saturday and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Group tours are available by appointment.

Admission at the door is as follows;
$5 for adults
10% discount for groups of 10 or more.
$3 for students (free for those attending art classes)
Admission is free for children younger than 12 (except groups).
All programming is subject to change.

Monthly programming during the run of the exhibition is in development. Current plans call for artist talks, scholarly panels, family art-making days, and a dance performance featuring art-inspired original choreography.

NIAM is supported in part by the Arts Work Fund, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Ralla Klepak Foundation, Studio Institute National Endowment for the Arts, US Bank, and many individual donors.


December 05, 2021

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM CT

Dance as an art form is one of the most enduring, we bring to you Expositions of Transformations presented by Natya Dance Theatre featuring Viddya Govind and ensemble, on Sunday, December 05, 2021. Come share in this rich experience!

The program will feature three senior Natya dancers who will perform interpretations of three different artists exhibited at the museum. There will be presentations in front of the exhibits, followed by dance performances that depict the art work.

This will be a part of our continuing series of programs under E/Merge: Art of the Indian Diaspora.
Date: Sunday, December 05, 2021

Time: 3pm – 4:30pm CT

Venue: Umang and Paragi Patel Center NIAM, 815 S Main St, Lombard, IL 60148
Due to limited availability please register early!

*Program fee includes access to the museum on the same day.


Saturday, December 11, 2021

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (CT) on Zoom

Chase away the winter chill with some cozily nostalgic Indian street food! In this episode of Taste of India, we are joined by Chefs and creators of Spice Waala- Aakanksha Sinha and Uttam Mukherjee!

Named among Seattle’s “10 Best Bites of 2019” by the Seattle Times, Spice Waala is a festive and delicious exploration of street food in a flavorful Bengali-Bihari fusion. Spice Waala, now boasting 2 locations in Seattle, is a delicious embodiment of “unapologetic authentic Indian street food.”

Aakanksha and Uttam’s mission is to impact their community by providing a dynamic and exciting voice in Indian cuisine as well as consciously addressing food insecurity. Their active efforts range from providing hot meals to the community during the Pandemic to incorporating innovatively mindful business practices at Spice Waala, and everything in between!

So what are you waiting for? Cure that street-food craving and join us on December 11th at 12 PM CT to hear from Aakanksha and Uttam and to participate in an exclusive cooking demo!


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Umang and Paragi Patel Center NIAM, 815 S Main St, Lombard, IL 60148

Livewire@NIAM is your 3 minute Open Mic platform to jam, tell us a story, act your heart out, enthrall with a verse, drop the mic… You bring the talent we’ll bring the cheers!

Buy tickets here:–open-mic–niam-44516

Performer registrations: email

*We recommend advance sign-up and will schedule based on first come first served! This month’s spotlight performer.

Stuti Sharma is a stand up comic, poet, and photographer based in Chicago. She is a collective member of Chicago Desi Youth Rising and ran an after school program in Chicago’s Devon neighborhood. You can find her in the woods of Illinois or only eating at restaurants where cooks facetime family and at

Covid protocols

Mandatory masks or appropriate face covering over nose and mouth.
Maintain six feet social distance at all times.
Required to carry proof of vaccination along with ID and/or negative PCR test (validity within 72hrs) and produce it if asked by museum officials.
Individuals displaying flu like symptoms or recently been exposed to the virus are requested to stay home.
Guests are requested to make of sanitizers provided and follow protocol at all times.
For more information visit

Indra Nooyi at NIAM GALA 2019

NIAM’s Gandhi Peace Program

About Us

Successful and highly regarded programs and exhibits as well as collaborations with leading Chicago institutions have established the museum’s reputation since its incorporation as a 501(c)3 organization in 2008. In recognition of its role as the first and only institution of its kind in the country dedicated to documenting, preserving and sharing the full spectrum of the Indian American experience in all its linguistic, religious, socio-economic and regional diversity, the museum changed its name from the Indo-American Heritage Museum to the National Indo-American Museum.
Click here to know more.

Our Values


Input from across generations, within and beyond the community, keeps us responsive to ideas and issues and true to our grass roots origins. We engage with the elders and with younger generations to document the past and build leadership for the future.


As keeper and teller of stories of an incredibly diverse Indian American community, secularity and inclusiveness are in our very DNA and essential to our existence.


Collaboration, partnership and sharing are key elements that define us as an umbrella organization.


By relating aspects of Indian American history and heritage to contemporary issues and contemporary forms of expression, we aim to keep the stories from the community alive and especially meaningful to our younger audiences.