Boston's Untold Story

Tufts history professor Reed Ueda recently chaired a team of local historians who consulted on a new multimedia museum on the history of immigration.

The Dreams of Freedom Immigration Museum, which opened this past July, is located in downtown Boston at 1 Milk Street, the home of the International Institute of Boston and the site where Benjamin Franklin was born.

Boston, which is known worldwide for its colonial history, is often overlooked as a major port of immigration, says Ueda. "Everyone knows about Ellis Island, but not everyone knows that Boston was right behind," he says. "One out of two Americans has an ancestor who came to America through the Massachusetts Bay."

Ueda, who teaches American history, specializes in social history of urban and industrial America, and immigration and ethnic relations. He has written numerous texts on immigration and was a research editor for the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups. He was more than happy to serve as chief consulting historian for the museum.

"I knew it would offer a rare opportunity to disseminate to a popular audience what I have been researching and teaching in the halls of academia-that the immigrant experience is a civic and historical legacy that has profoundly shaped the American identity."

The museum offers a variety of opportunities for visitors to learn about the immigrant experience. Using a "passport" that can be stamped at different stations, visitors can listen to "virtual immigrants"-Lilliputian-sized mannequins with computerized faces-tell the story of an individual's journey to America.

Visitors also can walk across floorboards that mimic those of a passenger ship, view trunks from around the world that hold the precious few items an immigrant was able to bring on his or her journey, and watch a multimedia show hosted by a holographic image of Franklin







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