House Passage of Latino Museum Bill Applauded
August 3, 2020
The director of the coalition supporting the National Museum of the American People congratulated supporters of the National Museum of the American Latino on House passage this week of legislation to establish a separate Latino Museum as part of the Smithsonian Institution. The legislation now goes to the Senate.
“The National Mall, where most of the Smithsonian’s museums are located, has museums dedicated to the art and culture of Native Americans, Europeans, Asians, Africans, Middle Easterners and Americans, but there is no museum on the Mall dedicated to Latin American,” said Sam Eskenazi, director of the NMAP Coalition. “American Latinos are one of the oldest, largest and fastest growing groups in the nation and their story needs to be told,” he said.
In addition, the Smithsonian is now constructing a permanent gallery focused on American Latino art, culture and history scheduled to open next year in its National Museum of American History, one of the most visited museums in the world.
“This is a wonderful step. We believe that to tell our nation’s narrative we also desperately need another great story-telling museum depicting the story about the making of all the American People,” said Eskenazi. “That story begins more than 10,000 years ago with the First Peoples in the Western Hemisphere and winds through the spectrum or our history through today focused on Americans who came from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas,” said Eskenazi.
“Told in its fullness, the American story is one of the most dramatic in human history. In the NMAP, every American will see their group’s story told. It will literally bring all Americans together.”
Eskenazi said that there’s room in Washington for both the Latino Museum and the American People Museum.
Using the model of the federal US Holocaust Memorial Museum, funding to plan and build the NMAP would come from private sources.
There are 35 Hispanic and Latino organizations supporting creation of the NMAP most of whom also support the National Museum of the American Latino. They are part of a coalition of 250 ethnic, nationality and minority organizations representing Americans who were here first and those who came from around the globe, in seeking to establish the American People Museum next year starting with a museum study commission.