What is the National Museum of the American Latino Commission?

The National Museum of the American Latino Commission is a 23 member congressionally mandated body tasked with providing Congress with a report on the feasibility of the potential creation of an American Latino Museum in Washington, D.C., which would focus on American Latino art, history and culture.

Who selected the members of the Commission?

The Commission members were selected by the President and bi-partisan congressional leaders in 2008 and 2009.

What is the purpose of the National Museum of the American Latino Commission?

The Commission will report to Congress on possible sites for the museum, potential content, suggested structure/governance and fund-raising strategies. The Commission will also receive public input on all of these questions.

When will the Commission complete its work?

In September 2010, the Commission will deliver an official report to Congress with their findings and recommendations.

How long does this process take?

The first step of this process has already been done: the formation of a Commission to study potential creation of a museum was done in 2008. The Commission first met as a body in September 2009. The public forum/input phase began in March 2010 and will extend until June 1, 2010. The Commission will submit the final report on its findings to Congress in September 2010. After that, Congress will have to make a decision. If approved, the next stage would be funding and build out which could take up to ten years.

What was the criterion used to select the Commissioners?

Commissioners were selected based on their expertise in certain professions that would be valuable to providing input for the report to Congress.

Isn’t there already a museum for the American Latino?

At present, there is no official museum for the American Latino. The Smithsonian Institute has a Latino Center whose mission is to “celebrate Latino culture, spirit, and achievement in America.”

Is the Commission engaged with the Smithsonian Institution and the Smithsonian’s Latino Center?

From its first meeting, the Commission has been engaged with officials in the various Smithsonian Institution museums and offices. In addition, other museums in Washington, DC and around the country have provided important information to the Commission as it gathers data and suggestions for its report to Congress.

Where would be the site for a possible museum?

The Congressional act that established the Commission defined among the Commission’s tasks to include an assessment of sites for a potential museum in Washington, DC and its environs.

When will construction start on the new museum?

In September 2010, the Commission will deliver an official report to Congress with their findings and recommendations. Congress will review the Commission findings and make a decision on the viability of an American Latino museum.

How can I help with the creation of a museum?

The Commission seeks input and feedback from the public on the development and design of the Museum, ways to advance American Latino life, art, history and culture, potential impact on regional Latino museums and general interest in the potential creation of a National American Latino Museum. Public input can be made through the website (www.americanlatinomuseum.gov) or at one of the six public forums that will be held across the U.S. in April and May 2010.

Would the art being housed in the potential museum be only from U.S. Hispanics or would it also include art from Latin America?

The vision of the museum is to showcase American Latino art indigenous to the United States. While this art is certainly influenced by Latin American artists, this museum will be uniquely American in its outlook.

What type of art would be in museum? Contemporary? Visual?

Part of the Commission’s mandate is to identify the type of content a potential museum would house. To determine this, the Commission has hired experts in the arts and is getting input from the public to include in their final report to Congress.

Who do I talk to if I have art pieces or artifacts that I would like to contribute to the museum?

You can go online to the website (www.americanlatinomuseum.gov) get the address of the National Museum of the American Latino Commission where you can send that type of request or we can provide that to you offline.

Are there other museums on the mall dedicated to U.S. ethnic minorities?

Yes. The Native American Museum opened in September 21, 2004 and houses a impressive collection of art and artifacts from Native American culture. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is currently being constructed on the mall.

How is the museum going to be funded?

Part of the Commission’s mandate is to research and strategize on possible funding sources and make recommendations for the report to Congress. Fundraising consultants have been hired to assist the Commission in evaluating how much of a funding base exists in the private sector and among ordinary citizens. In the recent past, new national museums coming online have been funded by a mixture of private and public monies.

How will the NMALC make the site selection?

A site assessment study is underway now and a recommended museum location in Washington, D.C. or its environs will be submitted to Congress as part of the Commission's report.

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