What lies ahead for National Museum of the American Latino?
The approval of the law for the creation of the National Museum of the American Latino is already a reality, but the opening of the museum could take between eight and 12 years.
The need and initiative for the creation of the National Museum of the American Latino has been on the political agenda for decades, and although the law that will allow this project to become a reality was recently passed, the process has just begun and is expected to be long and costly.
The estimated cost for the museum is between $600 and $800 million, of which half will come from Congress and the other will be raised from private donors.
The impetus for building the museum stems from the real gap of U.S. Latino stories in the nation's historical record.
"In the current [Smithsonian] system, as vast and well-funded as it is, with its millions and millions of square feet of incredible works that are there, again, we are invisible," said Rep. Tony Cárdenas.
Cárdenas, who has a long history of private fundraising, said that Latinos represent 18.5% of the U.S. population and their spending power is about $2 trillion a year.
"There are a lot of incredible companies across the U.S. that love to have Latinos spend their money. It's a great synergy for them to show that love to the Latino community," he said.
Artist Sylvia Orozco has been pushing for a national museum for almost as long as she worked building Austin's Mexican art museum. She says the creation of the national museum is about fostering inclusion.
"Art and culture do not create division, but unity. Because museums teach, inform and educate," Orozco said.
Staff members of museums such as the Mexic-Arte Museum, co-founded by the artist in the Texas capital, will continue to collaborate to teach the forgotten and ignored, but important part of U.S. history.
Supporters of the museum are insisting that the location of the new museum be the National Mall, and the bill itself specifies four possible sites for its construction: the Arts and Industries Building — a site in front of the Capitol Reflector on the Senate side. It's a space near the Washington Monument across from the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Department of Agriculture Administration Building.
All are symbolic spaces for the United States, however the exact location is still expected to be resolved in the next few years.
While the passage of the bill is the first step for the project, it is expected that the work that still lies ahead, especially since President Joe Biden included the creation of the museum in his campaign as part of his Latino agenda.