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.

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.


Beyond the India-America Dichotomy: Global Dynamism in Contemporary Art

Sunday, February 13, 2022

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM (CT)

Engage with our Panel of Artists, Curators, Writers and Creators in a virtual immersive discourse on zoom. Listen to the first hand narratives from the diasporic creators of contemporary art.

Date: Sunday, February 13, 2022
Time: 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM CT

Neha Vedpathak employs a plucking, a rigorous self-invented process to create works that aim to broaden the dialog and understanding of issues related to identity, spirituality, social and gender politics.

Kushala Vora is a dreamer, community organizer and an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture and drawing. Her practice is deeply influenced by the ecological and social landscape of Panchgani, India, where she grew up.

Shaurya Kumar is the curator for E/Merge: Art of the Indian Diaspora. He currently lives and works in Chicago, IL. Kumar is an Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chair of the Department of Printmedia.

Kumkum Sangari the panel moderator, is the William F. Vilas Research Professor of English and the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Dr. Sangari has published extensively on British, American and Indian literature, the gendering of South Asian medieval devotional traditions, nationalist figures such as M.K.Gandhi, and several contemporary gender issues and communal violence. She will be the moderator for the panel.

This is part of our series of programs for E/Merge: Art of the Indian Diaspora.
In accordance with pandemic related public health and safety advisory, we have transitioned our program to a virtual platform.

Due to limited availability please register early!

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

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

The annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas event was hosted by the Consulate General Of India, Chicago in association with the National Indo-American Museum (NIAM).

The virtual event was held on Saturday, January 22, 2022 to commemorate the contributions of the Indian Diaspora. Invitees included a few major donors, supporters of NIAM and guests of the Consul General.

The Consul General marked the event by highlighting the journey of the Indian immigrants to the US, their significant role in the larger community and NIAM’s work in documenting their story.

The National Indo-American Museum then showcased a preview of their Oral History Project: First Voices, scheduled to go live in March 2022, which collects these stories, transcribes them into digital formats and makes them accessible to the public.

NIAM’s Oral History project began documenting these histories from 2008, they represent the first wave of immigrants from India to Chicagoland, who came before 1980. These collections also captures voices of people in both, the later stages of life, and the young who have planted firm roots in America.

The final part of the presentation features a brief showcase of NIAM’s year-round calendar of diverse outreach programs and offerings.

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.