The National Museum of the American Latino will debut its inaugural gallery in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History on June 18. The new American Latino museum likely won’t open in its own building for at least another 10 years, but the Smithsonian will roll out exhibits until the museum finds its permanent location.
Smithsonian informed that the initial exhibit of its American Latino Museum is called “¡Presente! A Latino History of the United States. It aims to celebrate US Latinos’ historical and cultural legacies. Inside the interactive gallery, which is named for the family of late Smithsonian donor David Molina, artifacts are organized by themes like “colonial legacies” and “immigration stories.”
“The Molina Family Latino Gallery is the first iteration of the National Museum of the American Latino,” said Jorge Zamanillo, director of the National Museum of the American Latino.
As the Molina Family Latino Gallery’s premiere exhibition, “¡Presente!” introduces visitors to key concepts, moments and biographies that illuminate U.S. Latinos’ historical and cultural legacies.
The exhibition also tells the stories of Latinas and Latinos who have shaped the United States. Indigenous freedom fighter Toypurina, Mexican American union leader César Chávez, Puerto Rican baseball player Roberto Clemente, Guatemalan labor organizer Luisa Moreno, Colombian American drag queen José Sarria and the “queen of Salsa” Cuban American singer Celia Cruz are some of the historical and contemporary figures featured in the exhibition.
A companion website highlights select oral histories, 3D objects, historical biographies and objects in the “¡Presente!” exhibition.
The 4,500 square-foot gallery is designed as a space where multigenerational and cross-cultural visitors can celebrate and learn about Latino history and culture year-round.
All content is available in English and Spanish. Audiences can learn how Latinos and Latinas have helped shape the United States and its national culture through historical artifacts, multimedia interactives, sensorial experiences and a learning space.
The National Museum of American History is at 1300 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC.
For more information about the National Museum of the American Latino activities, visit its official website.