Museum commission chairman Henry R. Muñoz III made a strong case for the Latino facility in a letter contained in the final report to Congress and the president.
“The time has come for the creation of a new museum on the National Mall, the place where our nation’s most important monuments are located,” Muñoz wrote. “The Mall, more than any other public space in our country does indeed tell the story of America, and yet that story is not complete. There must also be a living monument that recognizes that Latinos were here well before 1776 and that in this new century, the future is increasingly Latino, more than 50 million people and growing.”
The museum commission chairman advocated for a center that is “not only as a monument for Latinos, but as a 21st Century learning laboratory rooted in the mission that every American should have access to the stories of all Americans.” He called it a time in U.S. history when “cultural understanding could not be more important to the enduring strength of our democratic ideals.”
Muñoz questioned why the Smithsonian Institution, a museum that serves “as the principal repository of our nation’s collective memory, achievements, research and cultural identity,” has been challenged by the “lack of representation, resources, artifact, exhibitions and programming that reflect Latino contributions to our country’s development.”
“We applaud the Smithsonian Institution’s desire to imagine itself as a place that more fully reflects the diversity and depth of American civilization and values in all its multicultural beauty, by joining this noble effort,” he wrote.
Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, Inc. is a non-profit organization based in the nation’s capital, which strives to create a national museum to educate, inspire and encourage respect and understanding of the richness and diversity of the American Latino experience within the U.S. and its territories by highlighting the contributions made by Latino leaders, pioneers and communities to the American way of life.
Anyone who wants more information about the project or to contribute to the effort to establish the museum can visit www.americanlatinomuseum.org.