The Exit Saigon, Enter Little Saigon exhibition opened January 19, 2007 at the Smithsonian S. Dillon Ripley Center, Concourse Gallery. This exhibit, the first Vietnamese American historical exhibit at the Smithsonian, tells the story of the Vietnamese American experience in America, from the significant influx in 1975 to the present. By showcasing themes of challenges, contributions and change, the exhibit emphasizes the vibrant diversity of this ethnic community.
OEC Designer Lynn Kawaratani and OEC Editor Rosemary Regan were integral to the success and completion of this project. Working collaboratively with the Asian Pacific American Program, OEC helped to keep this exhibition moving forward. The Special Exhibitions Division wore two hats in this production serving as both the project management for the exhibition and as the opening venue for the show. SITES plans to travel the show nationally for 3 years after it closes in Washington.
An evening VIP tour with curator Vu Pham and a gala opening event in the Smithsonian Castle were some of the festivities. Designers Chloe Dao and Bao Tranchi attended the gala, which was hosted by CNN Anchor Betty Nguyen.
top photo: Fashion designer Chloe Dao, from season 2 of Project Runway, and guest Amelia Liebhold get to know each other at the gala reception. Photograph by Dan Meijer.
bottom photo: Betsy Burstein Robinson, SED project manager, sets up the diorama of a refugee shelter during installation. Photograph by Dan Meijer.