Coming to America Gallery

The history of Polish immigration to America stretches to the very beginnings of permanent European presence in the New World. Polish glass-blowers, tar and pitch workers came to Jamestown in 1608. The gallery focuses on three later periods of migration: the years 1870-1914 that saw wave after wave of Poles, mostly peasants from the partitioned lands, the interwar and World War II period, as well as post-World War II years.
1870-1914 – On display, you can find Austrian and Russian passports, period trunks, articles of clothing, rosaries, shoes and even a featherbed highly valued by the peasants.
1914-1945 – Interwar Polish money, Polish passports, visas (for China and Brazil even though the desination was the United States!), a collection of toy soldiers smuggled out by an 8 year old boy from war torn Poland, Nazi plate and forks given as a baptismal gift to a boy born in a DP camp, personal history of Mr. Kurosz who was sent to Germany as a slave laborer at age 12, was freed by the Allies and came to live in Chicopee, MA.
1945- Temporary American passports given to American-born Poles who spent the war years and Stalinist terrors in Poland, cruise menus and others.