Making History Together
"The National Museum of the American Latino will showcase Latino history, art, culture, and scientific achievements to tell a deeper, more nuanced, and complete story about who we are as a nation."
—Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
About the National Museum of the American Latino
For centuries, diverse Latino communities have played foundational roles in building the United States and shaping its national culture. Their rich histories and legacies predate the nation's establishment. They are deeply rooted in this country's pursuit of democracy, freedom, multiculturalism, and economic opportunity. Their stories and perspectives deepen our understanding of the United States and what it means to be American.
On December 27, 2020, legislation passed calling for the Smithsonian to establish the National Museum of the American Latino. The new museum will be the cornerstone for visitors to learn how Latinos have contributed and continue to contribute to U.S. art, history, culture, and science. Additionally, it will serve as a gateway to exhibitions, collections, and programming at other Smithsonian museums, research centers, and traveling exhibition services.
About the Museum Director and Board of Trustees
The National Museum of the American Latino will be led by a museum director and advised by a board of trustees.
Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center, serves as interim director of the National Museum of the American Latino. At the same time, the Smithsonian conducting a nationwide search for the museum's founding director.
The board of trustees of the National Museum of the American Latino advises Smithsonian Leadership on key decisions relating to the museum’s development, and partners with the institution on outreach and fundraising efforts.
The 19-member board includes 13 citizens appointed by the Board of Regents, the Smithsonian Secretary and Under Secretary for Museums and Culture, the chair of the Smithsonian Latino Center advisory board, one member of the Regents, and two members of Congress.
The members appointed to the board of trustees are:
- Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian (ex officio)
- Kevin Gover, the Smithsonian's Under Secretary for Museums and Culture (ex officio)
- Margarita Paláu-Hernández, chair of the Smithsonian National Latino Board
- Franklin D. Raines, member of the Smithsonian Board of Regents
- Raul A. Anaya, president of business banking for Bank of America
- José Andrés, restaurateur, chef, and owner of ThinkFoodGroup; creator of World Central Kitchen
- Emilio Estefan, Grammy Award-winning musician, songwriter, and TV producer; co-founder of the Gloria Estefan Foundation
- José E. Feliciano, co-founder and managing partner of Clearlake Capital Group LP., a leading private investment firm
- Rick Gomez, executive vice president and chief food and beverage officer for Target Corp.
- Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; former publisher of the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald
- Eva Longoria, award-winning actor and producer; founder of the Eva Longoria Foundation
- Dr. J. Mario Molina, principal of JM Molina Investments; former CEO of Molina Healthcare
- Henry R. Muñoz III, businessman; former chair of the National Museum of the American Latino Commission
- Soledad O'Brien, award-winning journalist; anchor and producer for Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien; founder and CEO of Soledad O'Brien Productions
- José Luis Prado, executive advisor partner with Wind Point Partners; former president of Quaker Oats North America
- Alfredo Rivera, president of Coca-Cola North America
- Sofía Vergara, Emmy-nominated actress, television producer, presenter, and philanthropist
The members of Congress appointed to the board are:
- Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), appointed by the Congressional Hispanic Conference
- Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), appointed by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Let's Make History Together—Join Us!
We invite you to join us as we build a museum that centers and celebrates the Latino experience as essential to the American narrative. Together, we can illuminate the American story for all and continue advancing Latino representation in the United States. Be a part of history by making a tax-deductible donation today.
Latino Representation at Smithsonian
About the Smithsonian Latino Center
In 1997, the Smithsonian Institution established the Smithsonian Latino Center to help unlock dynamic Latino stories and empower a greater understanding and deeper appreciation for Latinos' contributions to our country. As the corazón (heart) of Latinidad at the Smithsonian, the center provides financial resources and collaborates with Smithsonian museums, archives, and research centers to expand Latino scholarly research, exhibitions, collections, public programs, digital content, educational resources, and publications. Two examples include ¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues, an exhibition on Latinos and Baseball currently on view at the National Museum of the American Latino; and The Other Slavery: Histories of Indian Bondage from New Spain to the Southwestern United States. Since 2010, the center has funded 20 positions for Latino curators, archivists, and curatorial assistants across the Institution.
About the Molina Family Latino Gallery
In 2022, the Latino Center will open and operate the Molina Family Latino Gallery at the National Museum of American History. The 4,500-sq. ft. gallery will be the Smithsonian's first museum space dedicated to the Latino experience on the National Mall. Designed to engage multigenerational and cross-cultural audiences, the Molina Family Latino Gallery integrates the universal principles of inclusive and accessible design. The content and overall experience are in English and Spanish and accessible to visitors with varying physical, sensory, and brain-based conditions. The Molina Family Latino Gallery is a precursor to the National Museum of the American Latino and foreshadows what a Latino museum could embody.
The Latino Gallery will open with ¡Presente! A Latino History of the United States to tell U.S. history from the perspectives of the diverse Latinas and Latinos who lived it and live it today. This exhibition uncovers hidden and forgotten stories, connects visitors to Latino culture, and lays the foundation for understanding how Latinas and Latinos inform and shape U.S. history and culture. The intentional diversity of objects, images, and stories clarifies that Latinhood is a dynamic exchange between related but distinct communities under the Latino identity.
Frequently Asked Questions
A public-private partnership will bring the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Latino to life. In addition to federal appropriations, philanthropy and support from the public will be essential for the development of the museum.