Latino Museum May Be In Trouble


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Will the long-stalled National Museum of the American Latino lose out to  a proposed national museum dedicated to the entire immigrant  experience?
Some say that although the two aren’t rivals, having another major  museum on the Capitol agenda jeopardizes the first.
“I think it mixes the messages,” says Estuardo Rodriguez, executive director  of Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino. “I think there’s going  to be a challenge, as it relates to educating (Congress) and the supporters we  need about the distinctions and differences between these efforts.
“They are huge and important. We don’t speak critically of (the immigrant  experience museum) but we make the distinctions clear.”
Congress conceivably could approve both museums, but supporters concede that  there could be some competition, especially given increasingly tight budgetary  constraints.
Recently, Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles, author of the bill  creating the Latino museum, has revved up the campaign of the Friends of the National  Museum of the American Latino.

“Becerra says such a museum is necessary “our history, for our culture, for  our contributions to this country,” though he warned that if “we’re going to be  housed in the dark recesses of some storage container because there’s not enough  room for all that, that’s not enough.”

Current bills in Congress call for the Latino museum to be created in the  Smithsonian’s unused Arts and Industries Building in Washington.

Waiting U.S. Congress approval

Previous legislation lapsed after failing to win passage in the previous  congressional session.
In 2011 the National Museum of the American Latino had a presidentially  appointed commission study of its feasibility completed.
Supporters of the broader immigrant experience facility, known as the  National Museum of the American People are pushing for Congress to press for a  feasibility study.
While Latino immigration would be part of that museum, it would take a wider  look at how all ethnic or national groups came came to the U.S. beginning with  the prehistoric ancestors of Native Americans traversing an Ice Age land bridge  between Siberia and Alaska.

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