Examining Latinos’ History through the Nation’s Many Latin American Museums

Latinos’ experiences continue to grow in America and abroad; history’s hand collectively grasps at information while generations of Latinos look to the past to uncover the traditions, practices and creations of their ancestors. For this, museums are perfect. They act as time capsules, and are able to offer patrons polarized frames of existence. Salvador Dali’s painting The Persistence of Memory and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel Cien anos de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude) solidify a time, a place and an experience without an explicit announcement of placement.

Latin/Latin American museums throughout the nation conserve and preserve national and international collections that are of great historical, artistic, scientific and cultural value. Those slices of history are made available for public consumption, so that experiences can be ongoingly shared by those who wish to be temporarily present with the artifact. Museum researchers and curators have taken an interest in the Latin tradition for more than a century, founding Latin-centric institutions around the nation, which offer the unique hardships, resistances, failures and fire of La Raza.

De Young Fine Art Museum of San Francisco was established in 1895 in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Closed and re-opened as a state-of-the-art facility, the museum employs collections of American art from the 17th through the 20th century, and introduces it to its patrons to art in a way that “integrates art, architecture and the natural landscape.”

Southwest, Spanish, Mexican, Native American, African American and Early European traditions inspire the collection of art and cultural riches that reside at Tesoro Cultural Center. The facility advertises the cuisines and music of the diverse American palate, and they host historical re-enactments. Tesoro also draws in the community through outreach programs and community-based events.

Maintaining an unparalleled record of the greater American experience, The Smithsonian American Art Museum has collected three centuries of the language, history, life and artwork of the American people. The museum has “the largest and most inclusive collections” of American art (including Latin American art) on the globe.

The only Latino museum accredited by the American Association of Museums dwells in Chicago. The National Museum of Mexican Art has a permanent collection that has over 6,000 objects, and it is the largest collection of Mexican art in the country. They have ongoing exhibitions, special programs, and events.

New York’s leading Latino cultural institution is El Museo del Barrio; it offers a complete artistic landscape of Caribbean, Latino, and Latin American cultures — through collections, exhibitions, films, literature, visuals, educational programs, cultural celebrations and performing art series.

For a complete compilation of museums and Latino collections throughout the country, that incorporate Latin American and Latino history, The Smithsonian Museum makes that available. The museums are listed by state; and admission prices vary.

Originally published at Latin Post.

4 thoughts on “Examining Latinos’ History through the Nation’s Many Latin American Museums

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