The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) has said that it is "concerned" over reports that the New York Tenement Museum is set to replace its "Irish Outsiders" tour with a hybrid story of Irish and African-American families.
The Tenement Museum, located on 97 and 103 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side, currently documents the lives of Irish, Eastern European Jewish, and Italian immigrants who lived in the museum's building throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
Among the experiences documented at the museum is that of Joseph Moore, an Irish immigrant who lived at 97 Orchard Street with his Irish wife Bridget and their three American-born children.
However, multiple reports claim that the museum is set to replace the Joseph Moore story with a hybrid story of two Joseph Moores, including the Irish immigrant who lived in the building and a black man from New Jersey who lived in a nearby neighborhood at the same time.
Darryl Hamilton, an educator at the museum who discovered the second Joseph Moore, said that the discovery was "a great opportunity to have a conservation about how we have common ground between these two Joseph Moore".
However, the AOH raised concerns about the reports, stating that the inclusion of one story shouldn't come at the expense of another.
"While the AOH respects and supports telling the stories of all heritages, it should not be a zero-sum game where telling the story of one heritage comes at the price of eliminating another," the group said in a statement.
"The history of anti-Irish Catholic bigotry in the U.S. is little told; the Museum proposal to eliminate it in favor of a 'hybrid program' only furthers the trend of airbrushing it from American history."
The AOH has written to museum president Dr. Ann Pollard to express their concerns over the issue, questioning why the Irish story is the only story to be altered at the museum to accommodate the inclusion of the African-American story.
The group said that "evicting" the Irish tour to make way for the new hybrid story was not progress, while they also argue that the decision is "contrary to the spirit of diversity which the museum is claiming motivates this change".
The AOH added that they were concerned by the "compare and contrast" format that the new hybrid tour could potentially create, promoting a "spirit of competition" between the two stories.
"The museum's strategy of pitting the story of one heritage against another is a recipe for enmity, which is the last thing we need in these divisive times.
"It would indeed be sadly ironic that the telling of the story of the 19th-century history of "No Irish Need Apply" at the Tenement museum should fall victim to a 21st-century incarnation."