Student exhibit focuses on Italian Americans of the Mahoning Valley

Italian American exhibit

A photo from “Italian Americans of the Mahoning Valley.”

“Italian Americans of the Mahoning Valley,” an exhibit designed by Youngstown State University senior Paula Schaefer, opens at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor on Thursday, Dec. 5.

A reception is scheduled 5 to 7 p.m. at the Historical Center, also known as the Steel Museum. The museum, a site of the Ohio Historical Society and operated by the Department of History at YSU, is located at 151 W. Wood St. in Youngstown. Schaefer is studying American Studies at YSU.

The exhibit, funded by a grant from the Ohio Humanities Council, features different aspects of the mass Italian immigration to the Mahoning Valley from 1890 to 1924. The story begins with the conditions in Italy and continues to explain the emigration patterns to the Americas and the settlement in the Mahoning Valley. This exhibit combines the two fields of Italian and American Studies. The period 1890 to 1924 witnessed a large influx of Italian immigrants to the Mahoning Valley, in particular Youngstown and Niles. Interviews explain personal accounts of the time period.

italian exhibit photo003The exhibit accompanies the Smithsonian Institution exhibit, “Journey Stories,” which opened Nov. 6, at the museum. “Journey Stories” explains the journey of American immigrants and migrants through various modes of transportation. “Italian Americans of the Mahoning Valley” takes the concept of the “journey” and applies it to one specific ethnic group in a specific place and during a specific time.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Historical Center at 330-941-1314.