Refuge or Refusal: Turning Points in U.S. Immigration History

Refuge or Refusal

Five key moments emerge as turning points in U.S. immigration policy: 1790, 1882, 1924, 1948, and 1965. This exhibit explores the impact of these turning points and the factors that influenced them, from global conflicts and economic conditions to cultural trends and social aspirations.

Created alongside the exhibition, the Immigrant Stories oral history project draws on testimony gathered through the Legacy Series as well as ongoing interviews with people who have first or second-hand experiences of immigration. For more information on how you can contribute to Immigrant Stories, please contact curator Adina Langer by email or phone at 470-578-2083.

Exhibit Supplements: 

Virtual Tour

Preview the exhibit on SeekBeak!

Audio Guide

Listen to audio descriptions of the exhibition panels.

Digital Exhibition

Visit this digital exhibit to explore visitors’ ideas about American identity and immigrant heritage, mapped to the places around the world where they trace their families’ origins. Share your own stories through our Google form, and our curator will add them to the map!

Gallery Guide

As you explore the exhibit, take along this guide to help you better understand bolded terms you encounter on the panels.

Immigration and World History Timeline

Explore this timeline examining immigration throughout history across the globe, or download our classroom version.

Activity Sheet for Educators

Exhibition Bibliography