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Smithsonian eyes influences of Indian-Americans

Associated Press Updated: February 25, 2014 at 3:47 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Indian-Americans are doctors, engineers, motel owners and spelling bee champs, based on a few takeaways from a new exhibition at the Smithsonian.

Looking closer, though, curators are examining the history behind certain cultural stereotypes of this population of 3.3 million Americans. "Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation" is the Smithsonian's first major exhibit to examine the history of Indian immigrants to the United States.

For more than a year, curators worked to borrow a dress made by Indian-American designer Naeem Khan for first lady Michelle Obama. The exhibition also includes an Olympic medal, NFL helmet and many stories of barrier-breaking Indian-Americans.

The yearlong exhibit opens Thursday at the National Museum of Natural History. It's the largest program from the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center since its founding in 1997.

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