Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Arab American Museum plans tribute for Helen Thomas next August

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Dearborn, MI (August 14, 2009) – Journalist Helen Thomas, the dean of the White House press corps and a proud Arab American, marked her 89th birthday this year by sharing cupcakes with U.S. President Barack Obama, who observed his 48th birthday the same day, August 4.

Next year, when Thomas turns 90, it’s possible there will be a new tribute to her many accomplishments on display at the Arab American National Museum – a bust of Thomas by sculptor and former White House photojournalist Susan Tinsley McElhinney.

Fundraising is now underway to finance this unique tribute to a legendary journalist and leading Arab American; visit http://www.arabamericanmuseum.org/helenthomastributedonations for details.

Helen Thomas was born to Lebanese Christian immigrant parents in Winchester, Kentucky and raised in Detroit, Michigan, where she attended public schools and graduated from Wayne State University. She launched her journalism career as a copy girl for the Washington Daily News and joined wire service United Press International in 1943. Thomas took on the White House beat for U.P.I. as President John F. Kennedy took office in 1961; she remained with U.P.I. until 2000, when she became a columnist for Hearst Newspapers. Thomas has been “first woman ever to…” on many occasions.

Thomas is an honorary Member of the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, where one of her vintage typewriters is on permanent display in the Making an Impact exhibit.

Susan Tinsley McElhinney is an Arlington, Virginia-based sculptor whose private commissions in clay and bronze may be found in homes and formal gardens throughout the U.S. She was a rare female photographer at Newsweek magazine in the 1970s, covering the White House, Capitol Hill and presidential travels and currently works as photo editor for the National Wildlife Federation. McElhinney attended The Maryland Institute College of Art and The Corcoran School of Art.


The Arab American National Museum documents, preserves, celebrates, and educates the public on the history, life, culture, and contributions of Arab Americans. We serve as a resource to enhance knowledge and understanding about Arab Americans and their presence in this country. The Arab American National Museum is a project of ACCESS, a Dearborn, Michigan-based nonprofit human services and cultural organization. Learn more at www.arabamericanmuseum.org and www.accesscommunity.org.

The Arab American National Museum is a proud Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Read about the Affiliations program at http://affiliations.si.edu.

The Museum is located at 13624 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, MI, 48126. Museum hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday, Tuesday; Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is $6 for adults; $3 for students, seniors and children 6-12; ages 5 and under, free. Call 313.582.2266 for further information.