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Smithsonian to Open Its First Latino Gallery

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, announced on Thursday that it will open its first permanent gallery dedicated to Latino culture. The Molina Family Latino Gallery, which was named in honor of the donors who gave $10 million to the institution, will feature 4,500 square feet of bilingual exhibitions on the US Latino experience. Located on the first floor of the National Museum of American History, the gallery’s inaugural exhibition, “Making Home: Latino Stories of Community and Belonging,” will be held in 2020.

“The establishment of the Molina Family Latino Gallery is an important milestone for the Smithsonian and the nation,” said Smithsonian secretary David Skorton. The new space was spearheaded by the Smithsonian Latino Center, which was founded in 2007 and has worked with the Smithsonian’s museums to ensure that the Latino community’s contributions are recognized, preserved, and celebrated throughout the institution. 

Commenting on the gallery, Smithsonian Latino Center director Eduardo Díaz said: “We’re thrilled to finally be realizing the dream of having a Latino gallery at the Smithsonian, but we recognize that our job continues outside of the museum’s walls. Latino history is American history, and we have a responsibility to reflect the stories and experiences of Latinas and Latinos in the US today. We’ll continue to do that not only through this future gallery, but also through our diverse programmatic, educational and professional development programs, as well as our work to unlock and increase access to Latino content across the institution.”

According to the Washington Post, there is also growing support for a National Museum of the American Latino. Attorney General Xavier Becerra drafted legislation calling for a new Smithsonian museum in the institution’s Arts and Industries Building in September—in his third attempt to push the bill through Congress—and Senator Robert Menendez introduced a companion bill in the Senate.