the Smithsonian’s National Latin American Museum established a scientific advisory committee to guide the museum on important matters and provide information on the museum’s overall plan to preserve, document, display/interpret, and promote knowledge of Latin American history, art, and culture. Vicki L. RuizUCI Emeritus Professor Emeritus of History and Chicano/Latino Studies, joins 17 other leaders from across the country in service of the museum’s mission.
“I am honored and delighted to serve on this inaugural committee,” said Ruiz, who has more than three decades of scholarship, research and teaching in Latino history/a and received the National Humanities Medal 2014. “The museum will provide an opportunity to tell fascinating and diverse stories that have remained in the shadows of American travel, some dating back more than 500 years.”
The 18 representatives come from various academic disciplines, such as architecture, anthropology, history and others. Together they will review exhibits and initiatives for distance learning and digital engagement. Inaugural meeting held virtually to welcome newly announced museum director Jorge Zamanillo and introduce the board members. Initial priorities include preparation of museum collections, research, and publishing vision.
For the past five years, Ruiz has been a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Molina Family Latino Gallery, the first gallery dedicated to Latino history and culture at the National Museum of American History. The 4,500 square foot space will present bilingual narratives through material objects, digital displays and first-person narratives. Ruiz reviewed drafts of the exhibit and offered suggestions for topics and biographies as well as historical and cultural artifacts. The first exhibition will open in June. According to Ruiz, it will provide “an insight into how Latin American history is American history and represents the Smithsonian’s first step toward being the greatest museum.”
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