Museum creators bring a vision to life on Passyunk Avenue

May 20, 2023 366

BY: Ken Mammarella

The History of Italian Immigration Museum HIIM is in South Philadelphia, but its perspective is global. It isn’t about South Philadelphia,” Michael Bonasera, its chairman and curator, said in an interview along with his wife, Wanda, who helped create the museum in 2014. “It isn’t about Philadelphia. It isn’t about America. It’s about immigration.”

And it’s Italian immigration. “The only other culture that I know that has that sense of pride is the Irish,” he said. “ ‘Italian roots and American dreams’ is the museum tagline.” One of the more worldly items among its hundreds of artifacts is a photo of a South American department store with signage in Italian, donated by a California library.

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