El Museo De Barrio, the name of the museum translates to the “neighborhood museum.” They are a Latin cultural institution that moves through Latin, Caribbean, and Latin American cultures.
Founded in 1969, Rafael Montañez Ortíz created El Museo with his Puerto Rican parents, and community educators, and artists. It was defined as an educational institution that helped people feel proud of their heritage, to find their personal connection to Latin America.
The exhibit holds a diverse range of collections that recognize the contributions and influence of Latin culture. They provide a variety of content that ranges from films to educational programs to visual arts and more.
So why are galleries like El Museo De Barrio important?
For more than 50 years the museum has provided consistent learning spaces and environments to society. It is a crucial part of keeping people educated about Latin influence, and what better way than to learn visually.
Not only does El Museo keep visitors in contact with the heritage, but they keep in touch with communities and artists that create the influence of Latin culture. They emphasize the importance of a strong community because of its impact from storytelling, passed down traditions, and keeping memories alive.
Originality is key
El Museo’s work has come a long way from collecting archives that obtain a lineage of history that is used to educate the public. They are committed to keeping this ongoing collection because these existing references are crucial in maintaining tradition. Originality is key to the community that cannot be strayed away from.
Within New York City, El Museo De Barrio is one of the few Spanish-owned galleries. The rare ownership is an impact on Latin exhibits in keeping their originality. This leads to the question of why there are very few galleries that are Spanish-owned?
Having spaces that are Spanish-owned is a trail to creating more opportunities in listening to history that is from the experience of a Latin individual.
We look forward to the neighborhood museum’s reopening in having the public learn more about Latin America through their connection with communities, artists, and people that are the definition of Latin culture.