What does it take to build the Smithsonian's first museum space dedicated to celebrating Latino history and culture? 

The Molina Family Latino Gallery is now open at the National Museum of American History. Take a look behind the scenes at the new gallery space, contemporary artworks, and Latino storytellers.

Under Construction

This timelapse footage of the Latino Gallery captures moments from construction to the final result ready for opening. Watch the timelapse to see how the gallery has changed from November 2021 to February 2022. 

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Captured by SI Digital Studios for the National Museum of the American Latino 2021-2022
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Shaping the Tree of Life

We commissioned renowned, third-generation ceramic artist Verónica Castillo to create a Tree of Life (or Árbol de la Vida) for ¡Presente! These clay sculptures are traditionally religious in theme, but Castillo’s works are unique. They depict social injustices and people’s everyday lives. For this exhibit, Castillo is creating a Tree of Life that recreates some of the themes featured in ¡Presente!

See the clay speak to Castillo as her tree about Latinas and Latinos in the United States comes to life. 

Bringing Stories to Life

The center of the Molina Family Latino Gallery has been named the Foro for its plaza-like design, which lends itself to communal interactions between individuals and small groups. Eight media interactive digital storyteller totems are situated throughout the Foro, where visitors will be able to interact with a variety of contemporary first-person oral histories. Take a look at images taken behind the scenes while filming Foro storytellers Dr. Mario Molina and Maria Hinojosa.