National Museum of the American Latino

February 15, 2022
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National Museum of the American Latino

Legislation passed Dec. 27, 2020, that established two new museums at the Smithsonian: the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. Congress has not yet allocated money for these museums; funding will be included in future appropriations. Below are the next steps for the Smithsonian for the American Latino Museum.

The museum’s 19-member board of trustees was established in summer 2021. The board held its first meeting virtually in October 2021. It will make recommendations on the location, planning and design of the museum and assist with fundraising and acquiring artifacts. The members are:

Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian (ex officio)

Kevin Gover, Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for Museums and Culture (ex officio)

Margarita Paláu-Hernández, chair of the Smithsonian National Latino Board

Franklin D. Raines, member of the Smithsonian Board of Regents

Raul A. Anaya, president of business banking for Bank of America

José Andrés, restaurateur, chef and owner of ThinkFoodGroup; creator of World Central Kitchen

Emilio Estefan, Grammy Award-winning musician, songwriter and TV producer; co-founder of the Gloria Estefan Foundation

José E. Feliciano, co-founder and managing partner of Clearlake Capital Group LP, a leading private investment firm

Rick Gomez, executive vice president and chief food and beverage officer for Target Corp.

Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; former publisher of the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald

Eva Longoria, award-winning actor and producer; founder of the Eva Longoria Foundation

Dr. J. Mario Molina, principal of JM Molina Investments; former CEO of Molina Healthcare

Henry R. Muñoz III, chairman emeritus of Muñoz & Co.

Soledad O’Brien, award-winning journalist; anchor and producer for Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien; founder and CEO of Soledad O’Brien Productions

José Luis Prado, executive advisor partner with Wind Point Partners; former president of Quaker Oats North America

Alfredo Rivera, president of Coca-Cola North America

Sofía Vergara, Emmy-nominated actress, television producer, presenter and philanthropist

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), appointed by the Congressional Hispanic Conference

Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), appointed by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Founding Director Named

Jorge Zamanillo, executive director and CEO of HistoryMiami Museum, was named the first director of the museum and will begin work May 2. Since the museum was established in late 2020, Eduardo Díaz has served as acting director of the National Museum of the American Latino.

The Site-Selection Process (scheduled to be completed by December 2022)

An architectural engineering firm, Ayers Saint Gross, was selected through the normal RFQ procedure to evaluate the sites for the museum and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. The final decision on both sites will be made by the Board of Regents. The legislation expresses the intent of Congress that the sites be located on or near the National Mall.

Molina Family Latino Gallery

The Molina Family Latino Gallery of the National Museum of the American Latino will be the Smithsonian’s first gallery dedicated to Latino contributions to America. The 4,500-square-foot gallery will open in the National Museum of American History in early summer 2022. The gallery will offer temporary exhibitions and educational programs over the course of 10 years, making it an integral part of the American Latino Museum. Exhibitions in the Molina Family Latino Gallery will present bilingual stories for multigenerational and cross-cultural audiences featuring multimedia, physical objects and first-person voices. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition, “¡Presente! A Latino History of the United States,” introduces visitors to critical concepts, moments and biographies that shine a light on the historical and cultural legacy of U.S. Latinos.

About the Smithsonian Latino Center

Since its founding in 1997, the Smithsonian Latino Center has advanced representation of Latino history and culture in the United States. Under Díaz’s direction, the center provides financial resources and collaborates with Smithsonian museums to expand scholarly research, public programs, digital content, collections and more. Since 2010, the center has funded 20 positions for Latino curators, archivists and curatorial assistants across the Institution.

About the Smithsonian

Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. It is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 19 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers and libraries. Two new museums—the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum—are in development. There are more than 6,300 Smithsonian employees and 6,900 volunteers. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 155 million, of which nearly 146 million are scientific specimens at the National Museum of Natural History. Follow the Smithsonian on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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