identities

The Smithsonian Is Opening The First Permanent Latino Gallery In 2021 Highlighting Latino Contributions

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The Smithsonian Institution is one of the most known museum and research centers celebrating numerous American achievements from all walks of life. Started in 1997, the Smithsonian Latino Center has never had a physical location. According to the website, the center has worked collaboratively with other Smithsonian properties to include temporary exhibits featuring American Latinos and their achievements. That’s all about to change with the announcement that the Smithsonian will open its first gallery focused on the U.S. Latino experience, in the National Museum of American History.

The Molina Family Latino Gallery is set to debut in 2021 and will focus on sharing the stories of Latino communities in the U.S.

The new gallery space will explore Latino identities and include bilingual exhibits exploring the history and contributions of American Latinos. The first exhibit will be called “Making Home: Latino Stories of Community and Belonging,” and highlight the various contributions of Latino cultures in North America and their influence around the world. This will mark the first time a permanent gallery space will be offered at the National Museum of American History highlighting the Latino community.

A $10 million donation toward the gallery was made from members of the Molina family, who dedicated the donation in memory of their father, Dr. C. David Molina, the founder of Molina Healthcare.

The gallery will offer visitors many interactive pieces, including a podcast and a forthcoming app.

The gallery will have a distance-learning component where people can learn about Latino history from anywhere through podcasts, a mobile broadcast and a Smithsonian Latino Center app. These are all efforts by the Smithsonian to increase its Latino representation. They will include recent highlights of Latino artists and social issues that affect Latino-Americans.

“Latino history is American history, and we have a responsibility to reflect the stories and experiences of Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. today,” Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center, said in a statement. “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.”

The gallery opens up more possibilities to one day have a new museum dedicated to Latinos as a whole.

Many Latino advocates celebrated the announcement of the gallery in hopes that it one day leads to a museum dedicated to Latinos. For years, there’s been a call to create a Latino Museum on the National Mall. Friends of the American Latino Museum (FALM), a non-profit organization, has been key in bringing attention to this. Estuardo Rodriguez, executive director of FALM, says that the African American Museum took a similar route.

“It’s wonderful. This is exactly the road the African American Museum took. They also had a gallery in the American History Museum,” Rodriguez told the Washington Post. “We run on parallel tracks, and we will point to that in our efforts to fundraise and to pass legislation for [a museum].”

The gallery is a huge step forward in terms of not only Latino representation but the acknowledgment of Latino contributions in American history. Diaz hopes the gallery changes perspectives on what it truly means to a Latino in America.

“We want to expand people’s notions of what it means to be Latino,” Diaz said at the ceremonial signing of the donor agreement. “It’s not this homogenous experience. It depends on where you’re from. We want to show how we came together under this big label.”


READ: A New Museum Dedicated To Mexican Food Is Opening In Los Angeles Next Spring

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11 Ways To Decorate You Holiday Table With Latino-Themed Decorations That Don't Break The Bank

identities

11 Ways To Decorate You Holiday Table With Latino-Themed Decorations That Don’t Break The Bank

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The holidays either bring out the worst in people or the very best. There’s the stress of finding the perfect gifts, planning and hosting parties, and the idea of traveling to visit family during the craziest time to travel.

If you keep in mind, however, that the holiday season is meant to be with loved ones and celebrate all of your blessings, then it will put everything in perspective. Besides, holiday stress can easily be fixed with some fine tequila.

If you’re hosting any holiday event this season and you’d like to spruce it up by doing away with the basic Christmas or New Year’s Eve decoration, you can easily glam it up in a Latino-themed style. Why Latino-themed? Because velas, piñatas, and Frida instantly make people happy.

Here are some ideas for your holiday table that will make your guests ooh and ahh, no doubt.

Use any Latin-brand can as a vase.

CREDIT: Pinterest

We already recycle cans and jars thanks to our abuelas teaching us to. Use those cans and create a unique table setting by adding an eclectic array of your favorite canned Latin goods and using them as vases. The table will instantly have a pop of color and your guests might feel some nostalgia seeing the various cans from their childhoods.

Papel picado as mistletoe.

CREDIT: Love and Cupcakes

Convert any typical holiday decor, like mistletoe, with colorful papel picado. You can hang them around, and also place them bunched together at the center of each table. It’s a colorful and unexpected way to change things up with just a little bit of effort.

Red hot chili wreaths and/or candle holders.

CREDIT: Wind and Weather

If you’re not interested in buying dozens upon dozens of red chili peppers to decorate, you can buy fake ones pretty easily. These might look like a little too much but everyone will remember the amazing way you used chili peppers for your holiday decor.

Ribbons and flowers in the colors of your flag.

CREDIT: Pinterest

Being Mexican makes this one super easy since the color scheme is the same but you can always add some ribbons to your poinsettias. Give your guests and familia a little something special with the colors of your family’s flag all over the place.

A sarape table cloth.

CREDIT: Pinterest

By replacing a random tablecloth with a sarape, you can quickly transform the vibe from a boring holiday party to a poppin’ fiesta. Simple. Cheap. Cultural.

Extra sarape material? Use it as stocking name cards.

CREDIT: Instagram

Cut a stocking pattern on cardboard or poster board and wrapping it with sarape material. Then write people’s names on the white portion, and bam! Instant name cards.

Create festive cornhusks for coasters, candle holders and/or wreaths.

CREDIT: Instagram

Click here for a YouTube tutorial that shows how to make these cute cornhusk decorations. Just remember to wrap your color ribbon as well. There is something so special about seeing handmade decorations.

Nacimiento centerpieces are guaranteed to please.

CREDIT: Instagram

This particular centerpiece may seem a little complicated but it’s just an example of how to craft any sort of arrangement. This nacimiento can easily be recreated at your local Color Me Mine. You can also get an inexpensive basket and put your nativity scene inside and place them as centerpieces, this way people can take them home!

Concha coasters or ornaments.

CREDIT: Instagram

These conchas, made out of felt (which you can get at your local craft store), can be created to use as coasters! For an extra flair use glitter to make them more festive.

A bottle of tequila, a couple of poinsettias, and a sarape runner.

CREDIT: Instagram

This table setting looks stunning and can be easily replicated. Aside from the bottle of tequila, which you’ll need anyway, and the poinsettias, you can add your favorite Latin candy, candles, and a Latin-themed runner.

La Virgen de Guadalupe velas and mini-candles.

CREDIT: Instagram

The table setting above may look like it’s ready to celebrate Day of the Dead, but it can certainly work for the holidays. All you have to do is replace the orange flowers, with red roses, or poinsettias. Then adorn the center of the table with Virgen de Guadalupe velas that you can get at the grocery store or just click here.

Good luck, and happy holidays!


READ: Texas Family Puts On Holiday Show With 100,000 Lights And Music By Selena And ‘Coco’

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