Home National museum The National Museum of the Latin American seeks to secure a site on the National Mall

The National Museum of the Latin American seeks to secure a site on the National Mall

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Planning is underway to establish the National Museum of the Latin American in Washington D.C.

The project was approved by Congress in 2020. The Smithsonian Institution will lead the museum and showcase Latino history, art, culture, and scientific achievements to tell a deeper, more nuanced, and comprehensive story of who they are. as a nation.

Paul Porter/BFAnyc.com/Paul Porter/BFAnyc.com

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Antonio Argibay, Sandra Gering

Antonio Argibay is an architect in New Jersey and a board member of the Friends of the National Museum of the Latin American. Ebong Udoma of WSHU speak with Antonio Argibay on the goal of securing a location for the museum on the National Mall.

AA: They released the four finalists who are all on the Mall which is great news for all of us because as a representative of the board of directors of the Friends of the National Museum of Latin American, that’s where we feel very strongly we should be, side by side with the other iconic cultural museums the Smithsonian operates.

WSHU: So it’s definitely going to be on the National Mall. Now it’s a matter of figuring out where exactly it’s going to be located. Right?

AA: To correct. Yes. There are four locations. They all have challenges in one way or another. Because as you can imagine, this is very important real estate. To put it into perspective, it’s about 300 acres. And the footprint of this building will be less than a fraction of a hundredth of that. To put it in context, it’s probably more understandable, it’s to imagine your average American home, with a garage and multiple bedrooms, we’re talking about a four-by-four space. About the size of the lock on the front door of the house. It is the space that there is. But to build it, there are a lot of people, a lot of organizations, and a lot of things that need to be studied as part of the process.

WSHU: Can you now tell us the importance of celebrating and recognizing Latin American contributions to America in a museum on the mall?

AA: Well, the mall museum is necessary to educate, inspire, encourage, respect and understand the richness and diversity that the Latin American experience brings. American Latinos have been part of the thread that has woven this nation. We were here before the 13 colonies. In fact, most of this country was a Spanish country, and as such, the contributions that Latinos made in making this nation a free nation should be recognized. As well as all cultural and economic aspects, sports and all other areas in which Latinos have contributed to the United States.

WSHU: Now, how long would you be able to secure a location? And what happens after you do that?

AA: I am not a gamer. I’m a day dreamer. I would like to think that we could finish this location next year. And the planning can start on the museum. The museum on the mall is not controversial. We have the full support and understanding of the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian secretary, Mr. Lonnie Bunch, was the director of the National Museum of African American Culture and History and is sensitive and understands the importance of this. The Smithsonian has chosen a highly qualified secretary to lead Jorge Zamanillo. Our board of directors met with him a few weeks ago and it was great to hear that we are all working together.

WSHU: So once a location is secured the design of the museum can begin and then fundraising to build it, so how long will we be able to see the physical museum on the mall and be able to visit it?

AA: I would be very happy if it was within 10 years. I think that would be an aggressive schedule, but I think it’s a very doable schedule.