Exhibition honours Slovenians in US
Ljubljana, 9 October - An exhibition entitled Slovenians in the US Today was opened in the park in front of the Slovenian National Archives on Wednesday. It was put up in cooperation with Joe Valenčič, an American with Slovenian roots, who prepared 10 boards showing how Slovenian culture and language continue to be nurtured by the Slovenian community in the US.
Valenčič, who contributed the texts and most of the 80 photos featured in the exhibition, said that being a lecturer of Slovenian-US history provided him with many opportunities to meet Slovenians living in the US and gain insight into their lives, activities and achievements.
While some of them may feel that they will disappear in the American melting pot, Valenčič has seen that new opportunities for preserving the community appear with each new generation and with the development of technology.
The exhibition shows the US locations of the Slovenian community, which has been striving to preserve its cultural identity for 150 years. Valenčič said there are more than 500,000 Slovenian emigrants living in the US. Most of them settled in large industrial or mining towns, while some formed farming communities that continue to thrive.
Where a larger number of Slovenians meet, the formation of a Slovenian club, society or accordion group is only a matter of time, Valenčič wrote on one of the boards.
The exhibition also presents traditional Slovenian dishes, such as the Kranjska sausage or the potica cake, while a separate section is dedicated to music. Slovenians can be found in all music genres, but the Cleveland or Slovenian-style of polka is considered a key contribution.
All larger Slovenian communities in the US have a space where events are organised, while Slovenian parishes also serve as an important meeting point.
A section at the exhibition is also dedicated to successful Americans with Slovenian roots and to iconic Slovenians, for instance First Lady Melania Trump and the athletes Luka Dončić and Anže Kopitar.
Slovenia's National Archives director Bojan Cvelfar announced that a plan is to follow up the Slovenians in the US Today exhibition, which will be on until the end of March, with presentations of Slovenians living in Canada and Argentina as well elsewhere, including in European countries.