New Location for the Irish American Heritage Museum, Albany.
The mission of the Irish American Heritage Museum is to preserve and tell the story of the contributions of the Irish people and their culture in America, inspiring individuals to examine the importance of their own heritage as part of the American Cultural mosaic.
For centuries, they left because they couldn’t stay, or because they wanted to go, or a combination of both. Community became very important to the new arrivals, and so Irish immigrants gathered together in slums near the port or traveled further to meet family members or neighbors who had made the journey earlier and could help give them a start.
They experienced prejudice, hardship, trials, and sometimes good fortune. In turn, some of them displayed prejudice, wrestling for position in often-ruthless cities. Many served their new country in the military, some became labor leaders, politicians, teachers, and innovators. Some achieved great fame, others infamy. Most would remain nameless, living ordinary lives, proud of their heritage, working hard, and becoming American.
Although this museum tells the story of the Irish in America, with a few changes, it could tell the story of almost any immigrant. It is the story of leaving home and family to build a life in a new place. It is a testament to the courage of those who faced the unknown and conquered fear and discrimination to become Americans.
Today, these emigrants and their descendants, some 34 million Americans, are spread across every state in the nation. Here, we tell their stories.