Pamela Dorazio Dean, MA, CA
Curator for Italian American History at Western Reserve Historical Society
What do you do at WRHS?
Curator of Italian American History/Director, Italian American Museum of Cleveland
Why is it important?
Italians are one of the largest groups to immigrate to Cleveland between 1880-1920. The positive impact they made and continue to make upon the region is significant. It is important to preserve the history of their contributions as well as educate others about it.
Why is history important to you?
I believe history is important because it teaches us cause and effect, basically why things happened and what occurred as a result. This understanding helps us function better in our present lives. Another aspect about history that I think is important is that it allows us to broaden our knowledge and experience of the world. Our lives are short, relatively speaking, and our ability to experience different events, cultures, and peoples is somewhat limited. But with history, you can gain an understanding of the world centuries before you were born.
Do you have a favorite figure from history that motivates you?
Too many to name.
One group of women that motivates and inspires me are the Ursuline Sisters. I was lucky enough to be educated by them in high school. They were incredible role models for women. They ran the school at all levels, from the classroom to the administrative offices, and did it extremely well. Their dedication to their faith, to the community, and to the education of youth still inspires me to this day. Particularly inspiring is their outspokenness on social justice issues. Even when women’s voices were not being heard, they found a way to be leaders in making positive change.