Smithsonian Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month 2010

September 7, 2010
News Release

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The Smithsonian celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 with a series of performances, lectures, exhibitions, family activities and tours at various museums around the Institution. All programs are free unless otherwise indicated. For a full calendar of events, visit

Feature Event

The Smithsonian will present “Hispanic Heritage Month Family Day Celebration: Passport to Argentina” Saturday, Sept. 25, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the  Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The family day will include storytelling, crafts and art activities, and music and dance performances.


The National Museum of American History will feature “The Mexican Revolution: Performance Artist” Thursday, Sept. 23, at 5:30 p.m., and Friday, Sept. 24, at 6:30 p.m. in the museum’s Carmichael Auditorium. Performance Artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña will present Strange Democracy, a work inspired by the Mexican Revolution that addresses the intersections of Mexican and U.S. culture.


The documentary short Chávez Ravine (24 minutes, 2004) tells the bittersweet story of how a Mexican-American community in Los Angeles was displaced to make way for Dodger Stadium. In 1949, photographer Don Normark documented Chávez Ravine, a close-knit “village” on a hill overlooking the city. He stayed for a year and took hundreds of photographs, never knowing he was capturing the images of a place that would soon disappear. This film was narrated by Cheech Marin with music by Ry Cooder. It will be shown at the Anacostia Community Museum Sunday, Sept. 19, at 2 p.m.

The National Museum of American History will present the “Mexican Revolution Film Festival” Friday, Sept. 24, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the museum’s Carmichael Auditorium. Adela

Pineda, professor of Spanish at Boston University, will introduce each of the following free films:

  • 11a.m.: Viva Villa (110 minutes, 1934), with Wallace Beery as Pancho Villa

  • 1 p.m.: The Wild Bunch (134 minutes, 1969), a Sam Peckinpah western, shocking at the time for its violence, in which a gang of aging outlaws ventures south of the border just after the revolution.

  • 3 p.m.: Viva Zapata (113 minutes, 1952), Elia Kazan’s biopic of revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, with Marlon Brando as Zapata and a screenplay by John Steinbeck.


Artists Kathy Vargas, María Martínez-Cañas and Martina López will discuss the intersection of Latino culture and gender identity in their work during a lecture titled “Intersections/Intersecciones” Friday, Sept. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The lecture will be moderated by Muriel Hasbun, associate professor of fine art photography at the Corcoran College of Art + Design.

The Smithsonian Associates will feature “Treasures of Peru: Tantalizing Culture, Incomparable Nature” Tuesday, Oct. 5, from 6:45 to 9 p.m. in the S. Dillon Ripley Center. Presenters will share cultural and scenic highlights of Peru, including local culinary pleasures, traditional textiles and the incredible biodiversity found in the Amazon rainforest and in the Andes Mountains. Resident Associate members: $25; general admission: $35. Call (202) 633-3030.

Family Activities

The Smithsonian American Art Museum will present “Hispanic Heritage Month Scavenger Hunt” daily from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the museum’s Luce Foundation Center. With more than 3,300 artworks displayed in floor-to-ceiling glass cases, the Luce Foundation Center is the perfect place for a scavenger hunt. Materials will be available in both English and Spanish.

“Argentina at the National Air and Space Museum” will celebrate the accomplishments of Argentineans in aviation and space flight Saturday, Oct. 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Activities for all ages and bilingual presentations will be included. 


In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Renwick Gallery will offer Spanish-language walk-in tours of the gallery’s collection of contemporary craft Mondays, Sept. 20 and Oct. 11, at noon. Reservations are not required. Meet in the museum’s lobby.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum will offer tours that highlight the artistic achievements and cultural traditions of Hispanic Americans Friday, Sept. 10, at 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 18, at 4 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 25, at 12:30 and 2 p.m.; and Friday, Oct. 8, at 4:30 p.m. No reservations necessary. Meet in the F Street Lobby. Spanish-language tours can be arranged by calling (202) 633-8550.


“Southern Identity: Contemporary Argentine Art” is a bilingual exhibition that presents a contextual overview of the artistic movements and trends reflected in the works of 32 of Argentina’s best living contemporary artists. The exhibition will be open Oct. 11 through Jan. 23, 2011, in the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center. Some of the artists featured in the exhibition are already established in the canon of Latin American art, others represent a new generation of masters. Within the Americas, Argentina is one of the most active producers and consumers of contemporary art. This exhibition was organized by the Republic of Argentina’s Ministry of Culture in partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Center as part of the 2010 programming series Argentina at the Smithsonian.

This information is subject to change. For more information on the Hispanic Heritage Month programs, call (202) 633-5299 or e-mail For general Smithsonian information, call (202) 633-1000 or (202) 633-5460 (TTY).

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