The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Latino, still in the planning stages, is set to introduce its first exhibition on June 18, the organization said in a news release Wednesday.
The inaugural exhibition is also the launch of the Molina Family Latino Gallery at the National Museum of American History, another Smithsonian Institution.
The official opening of the national Latino museum could take about eight to 12 years, but the premiere exhibition at the upcoming Latino gallery will give "the public a preview of the museum’s potential," Jorge Zamanillo, director of the National Museum of the American Latino, said in a statement.
“The Molina Family Latino Gallery is the first iteration of the National Museum of the American Latino,” Zamanillo said.
The new exhibition titled “¡Presente! A Latino History of the United States” highlights key moments that showcase the historical and cultural legacy of Latinos in the U.S. with the help of a companion website that includes select oral histories, historical biographies and 3D objects displayed at the gallery.
It also features significant figures such as the Indigenous freedom fighter Toypurina; the Mexican American civil rights leader César Chávez; the Puerto Rican baseball star Roberto Clemente; the Guatemalan labor organizer Luisa Moreno; the Colombian American drag queen José Sarria; and the Cuban American singer Celia Cruz.
The contents of the exhibit are in English and Spanish, according to the Smithsonian.
“It was 25 years ago that the Smithsonian founded the Latino Center to increase Latino representation across the Institution, which also helped pave the way for the Latino Museum," Eduardo Díaz, acting deputy director of the National Museum of the American Latino, said in a statement.
“This is a special year for the Molina Family Latino Gallery to open,” he added.
Additionally, two days of public events at the new galley are scheduled to further showcase the inaugural exhibit in time for Hispanic Heritage Month in September.
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