The US House passed a bill on Monday to establish a new museum within the Smithsonian Institution on the National Mall celebrating the history of Latino Americans and their contributions to the nation.
“Today, we reached an important milestone for the Hispanic community with passage of this legislation,” said Democratic Rep. José Serrano, who introduced the bill. “After nearly 20 years of work, the National Museum of the American Latino Act was finally considered and approved with overwhelming bipartisan support.”
Also commenting on the move, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “Today is a proud day for the Congress and the Country, as the Democratic House passes the National Museum of the American Latino Act.
“This long-overdue legislation will celebrate the contributions of generations of Latinos, acknowledging this truth: that Latino history is American history. And as it celebrates the past, this legislation will inspire the future, ensuring that the tens of millions of visitors to our nation’s capital each year can learn the full story of America. I salute Congressman José Serrano, a powerful force for justice, equality and progress for all, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the many leaders who have dedicated decades to this fight,” Pelosi added.
The National Museum of the American Latino will offer its visitors the opportunity to learn about Latino contributions to life, art, history, and culture in the United States, and will serve as a gateway for them to view other Latino exhibitions, collections, and programming at other Smithsonian Institution facilities and museums.
The facility will be aiming to “illuminate the story of the United States for the benefit of all by featuring Latino contributions,” according to the bill.
A site will be designated for the museum in 24 months after the date of the enactment of the Act. The possible sites to host the museum are listed as:
- The Arts and Industries Building of the Smithsonian Institution, located on the National Mall at 900 Jefferson Drive, 6 Southwest, Washington, District of Columbia.
- A vacant area bounded by Independence Avenue, Jefferson Drive, Raoul Wallenberg Place, and 14th Street Southwest, currently under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.
- The area bounded by 3rd Street and 1st Street, Northwest and Constitution Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest, as measured from curb to curb, currently under the jurisdiction of the Architect of the Capitol.
- The facility and grounds on the National Mall between 12th and 14th Streets, Southwest, and Jefferson Drive and Independence Avenue, Southwest, currently under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture.
- Any other appropriate location as identified by the Board of Trustees or Board of Regents.
Smithsonian’s museums are currently closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.