The National Indo American Museum (NIAM) was established in 2008 as a 501(c)3 originally as the Indo-American Heritage Museum. The museum was established as a living museum in the heart of Chicago’s Indian American commercial district. The organization developed organically as the community became increasingly aware of the need for information about its past, the steady loss of its pioneers and first voices who are the original sources of its history and the growing need for cross cultural understanding.
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 in 2020.
Successful and highly regarded programs and exhibits as well as collaborations with leading Chicago institutions have established the museum’s reputation since its incorporation and even before starting in 1994.
- Hundreds of first- voice presentations to school and university students
- Credit workshops for teachers including a Fulbright-funded six-week study tour in India
- Educational seminars for tour groups and corporations
- Neighborhood tours, food tours and tours of Indian American places of worship
- Publication of a pictorial history, Asian Indians of Chicago (Arcadia Publishing, 2003)
- Induction into our Hall of Fame honoring the achievements of outstanding Indian Americans
- Collaboration with other ethnic museums and leading art and cultural institutions.
Membership in the Chicago Cultural Alliance and the hospitality of the Indo-American Center have helped NIAM pursue its goals. As we step into our next phase of growth, we continue to offer our programs with the enthusiastic support of the Indian American community both in the Devon Avenue marketplace and in the wider Chicagoland area.