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The American Latino Museum

April 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Buildings, Latinos, Museums

Latinos in BaseballSmithsonian American Latino Museum

A few weeks ago, a bipartisan congressional legislation (the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act) was introduced to designate a location for the first Museum of the American Latino in Washington, DC. The legislation requires no funding but authorizes the Smithsonian Institution to create a plan of action which includes construction, fundraising and related needs to carry out this project. It mandates a board of regents to design this plan within 18 months.

The historic Arts and Industries Building (AIB) on the National Mall was selected as the site of the American Latino Museum; which will also require the construction of an underground annex adjacent to the main museum building.

Latinos in the U.S. have been waiting and fighting for such a museum for a long time. There is no denying that for hundreds of years, Latinos have made invaluable contributions to the arts, culture, political and socioeconomic fabric of this nation. For this reason, we can only speculate about the immensity-and also the emotional intensity, of the collections that will be on display at the National Latino Museum of Washington, D.C.

Celia Cruz’s and Carlos Santana’s music, Cesar Chavez’s and Dolores Huerta’s accomplishments, Raul Julia’s and Edward J. Olmos’ movies, Rita Moreno’s achievements, Desi Arnaz, Jr.’s performances, Roberto Clemente’s and Jose Canseco’s baseball feats, Oscar de la Hoya’s boxing prowess, Jaime Escalante’s ground-breaking teachings, and lesser known Latinos such as heroic civil war soldier Loreta Janeta Velasquez, Severo Ochoa’s revolutionary inventor of RNA in test tubes, Dr. Rene Favaloro‘s life-saving bypass surgery and Clotilde Arias, the Star Spangled Banner’s revered translator. Those are just a few we can briefly think of about this early in the planning process.

During a time when our nation appears divided and wearied by many explosive issues, a National American Latino Museum of this magnitude will provide visitors many opportunities for understanding and appreciation of our differences and likeness, of the innate human spirit impelling all of us to better ourselves, of our shared immigrant past; and especially of our common hopes for a nation that our founding fathers immortalized in the phrases “We the People” and “Out of Many, One.”

photo credit: Al_HikesAZ via photopin cc


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