The stories I heard from Andrew, Merle, Vera, and Bill about how and when they found their connections to their heritages, and how they came to become proud of same, have given me a lot to think about. The reality is that one never knows when or why they will be moved to connect to and understand their heritage’s art, culture, history, and wisdom. As a national museum, we have to be ready at all times and for every generation when they are inspired, compelled, or moved to learn more, whether they are of Czech or Slovak lineage, or not.

There also are stories of young people, like those who worked on the current Guts and Glory exhibition (it closes Dec. 31, so hurry if you haven’t seen it yet!) who have fallen in love with Czech and Slovak cultures despite their not being of either heritage. People of all ages enjoy great stories of courage and resilience; of challenges and overcoming them; of adventure and quest; of creativity; and, of the never-ending quest for freedom. Stories, plays, speeches, songs, paintings, and images are just some of the ways that people express their voice, and how others learn. It is no wonder that the NCSML’s mission and vision includes the gathering of stories (and other forms of voice and expression), and sharing with others; there is much to be learned by all.

There is much to be thankful for when we look at the lives – past and present – that affect how we live, where we live, and who we are. I believe the magic is in using that information to the best of our abilities to help make the world a better place for the lives near us now, and for lives unknown in the future.

In that spirit, I thank you simply for being who you are and your willingness to share with others in whatever way or moment you feel inspired to do.

Share your stories with me! Tell me about your festival experiences. Share with me about your family. I would love to hear more.  Contact me at

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