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The work of the April Institute innovatively integrates four research and public education projects:

(a) the curation of permanent, multimedia digital exhibitions to engage diverse publics;

(b) the creation of opportunities for new research and publications that reflect and inform our digital exhibitions;

(c) the development of practical resources for middle school, high school, and college students and teachers;

(d) the public memorialization of antifascist figures, movements, and events.

a. Digital Exhibitions

Our interactive, digital exhibitions will visualize and communicate topics to diverse publics through compelling stories, timelines, narrative texts, photographs, videos, digitized documents, and interviews with activists and scholars. These will be permanent exhibitions hosted on our website and eventually accompanied by related publications, teaching materials, and recordings of in-person events, such as activist workshops, author talks, lecture series, and documentary films.

We are currently at work on three exhibitions. The first concerns the “Hands off Ethiopia” movement and the rise of the Black antifascism that developed in response to Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia in the 1930s. This exhibition will be historical and involve the collection, explanation, and public presentation of preexisting archival materials concerning a significant, but little-known chapter in U.S. history. We have our first workshop for this exhibition scheduled for spring, 2023, in Boulder, Colorado. Our second exhibition situates the fascist politics of and antifascist opposition to the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA in 2017 in historical context. This exhibition is contemporary and will focus on a relatively well-known but ongoing chapter, for which new archival items, such as participant interviews, will be created, and others, such as images, video, publications, and printed matter, will be collected. We have our first workshop for this exhibition scheduled for spring, 2023, in Boulder, Colorado. For our third exhibition, we are partnering with a university archive to present the history of the American League Against War and Fascism, the largest and most diverse antifascist organization in the U.S. in the 1930s. The physical version of this exhibition will be hosted at a cultural space in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

b. Research and Scholarship

Opportunities for new research and publications that contribute to the goals of the Institute will be integrated into the development of each exhibition. As we grow the Institute’s capacity, we will amplify our digital exhibitions with in-person lectures, workshops, and symposia to promote new scholarship. We are planning a pamphlet series, which will be free and downloadable from our website, and a series of scholarly anthologies to accompany several of our exhibitions. If there are interested donors, we will also create a named award for the best new book that contributes to the goals of the Institute.

c. Resources for Educators

In collaboration with middle and high school teachers, we will develop digital tool kits for educators that include lesson plans with grade-appropriate content and scaffolding exercises that reflect Common Core standards and include clear learning objectives. Additionally, each of our digital exhibitions will include videos, articles, and downloadable worksheets for different age groups. We follow here the model of institutions such as the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City. In collaboration with university teachers, we will provide sample syllabi, interactive bibliographies, documentary videos, and digital reference materials for undergraduate and graduate students. As the capacity of the Institute grows, we will work with experienced teachers to lead virtual field trips through the digital exhibitions and related physical places, as well as create an award for an essay competition concerning the subject matter of an exhibition.

d. Public Memorialization

Our projects in public memorialization will prioritize antifascist figures, movements, and events, but also educate the public about the true extent of fascist organizations and movements in U.S. history. Our public memorialization efforts will include physical commemorations in the form of murals, plaques, or walking tours as well as commemorations in print and online through interactive maps, newspaper op-eds, Wikipedia entries, and documentary films. We intend to collaborate with government agencies as well as private and nonprofit institutions in these efforts.