About the Latino Curatorial Initiative

Established in 2010, the Latino Curatorial Initiative is designed to embed Latino curators, archivists, and curatorial assistants in select Smithsonian museums, archives, and research centers across the Institution. The National Museum of the American Latino provides Smithsonian units with funds from the Latino Initiatives Pool to hire curators, archivists, and other professionals in Latino history, art, and culture. These experts conduct research, organize exhibitions, inform public and educational programs and web content, publish, and build collections and archives that reflect the contributions of Latinos in nation-building and shaping national culture. To date, the initiative has added 12 Latino[1] (80% women) curators and archivists, four of whom are alumni of the Smithsonian Latino Museum Studies Program. In addition, there are eight Latina contract curatorial assistants at four Smithsonian museums.

The Latino Curatorial Initiative has placed individuals at:

  • Archives of American Art,
  • Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage,
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture,
  • National Museum of American History,
  • National Museum of the American Indian,
  • Smithsonian American Art,
  • National Portrait Gallery,  and the
  • Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

In 2018, the Latino Curatorial Initiative earned the American Alliance of Museums' prestigious Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion (DEAI) Award[2], which is now considered a best practice in the museum field.

Curatorial responsibilities:

  • conduct research and organize exhibitions
  • inform public and educational programs and web content
  • build collections and archives that reflect the contributions of Latinos to the US
  • publish scholarly research, catalogs, and other materials

[1] There have been 12 Latino curators and archivists since the beginning of the Latino Curatorial Initiative in 2010. Currently, there are 11 Latinos in these positions at the Smithsonian. The curator who departed is still an affiliated curator to the Smithsonian on an intermittent basis.

[2] American Alliance of Museums Honors Smithsonian Latino Center with 2018 Award for Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion: https://www.aam-us.org/2018/04/23/american-alliance-of-museums-honors-smithsonian-latino-center-with-2018-award-for-diversity-equity-accessibility-and-inclusion/