The legislation creating the National Museum of the American Latino at the Smithsonian passed Dec. 27, 2020. It calls for the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents to name a 19-member board of trustees within six months. The board includes 13 citizens, the Smithsonian Secretary and Under Secretary for Museums and Culture, the chair of the Smithsonian Latino Center advisory board, one member of the Regents and two members of Congress.
The board of trustees of the National Museum of the American Latino advises the Board of Regents and makes recommendations on the location, planning, design and construction of the museum; helps with fundraising; acquires artifacts; and provides for the maintenance of the collections.
“We are excited to welcome such an esteemed collection of leaders to the inaugural board of the National Museum of the American Latino,” said Lonnie Bunch, Smithsonian Secretary. “Their guidance will be invaluable as we bring to life this new museum that will showcase Latino history, art, culture and scientific accomplishment to tell a deeper, more nuanced and complete story about who we are as a nation.”
The members appointed to the board of trustees are:
- Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian (ex officio)
- Kevin Gover, the 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
- 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.
- 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 model
The members of Congress appointed to the board are:
- Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), appointed by the Congressional Hispanic Conference
- Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), appointed by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Additional candidates are pending and will be announced soon.
Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center, is serving as interim director of the National Museum of the American Latino while a nationwide search is conducted for its founding director.
“For these early years of the museum’s development, we will benefit enormously from the dedicated and wide-ranging experience and expertise that its inaugural board of trustees brings to the table,” Díaz said. “The board represents leaders from philanthropy and humanitarian relief, from the corporate sector and from the entertainment, health-care and hospitality industries. Each comes with a demonstrated track record of community service and a clear understanding of the importance of a national museum that centers the Latino story as part of the American narrative.”
The first meeting of the trustees is being planned for this fall. The board members serve without pay for one- to three-year terms and may be reappointed by the Board of Regents for a total of two terms.
A site-selection process is underway. An architectural/engineering firm will conduct the evaluations for the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum, established by Congress at the same time as the Latino museum. Both museums will be located on or near the National Mall, according to the legislation.
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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