HOUSTON, TX—The Molina Family Latino Gallery, the first physical presence of the National Museum of the American Latino, will open at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. on June 18, 2022. Established by Congress in December 2020, the new National Museum of the American Latino will feature documents and artifacts from the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage project (Recovery), directed by Dr. Nicolás Kanellos, the Brown Foundation Professor of Hispanic Studies and founder/director of Arte Público Press. Dr. Kanellos was a consultant for the gallery, which will exhibit periodicals, photos, documents and books related to his research on the history of Latino printing presses and newspapers, dating back to the late eighteenth century in areas that became part of the United States.
Other items on loan from the Recovery Project include documents from the 1929 founding of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), a major civil rights organization still operating today, as well as books written in Spanish by immigrants entering labor streams in the United States.
“Finally, US citizens of Latino descent will see their history and culture in the national museum, something that is long overdue given Latinos’ contributions to the creation and development of this great country,” said Dr. Kanellos.
The Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Project is a comprehensive University of Houston program to reconstitute the literary and historical legacy of Hispanics in the United States from colonial times to 1960. As a result of this project, hundreds of thousands of essays, autobiographies, historical and journalistic writings, novels, diaries and letters are being integrated into textbooks and curriculum from K-12 as well as graduate programs. Project organizers foresee the impact of this effort as reforming education and culture to more appropriately reflect Hispanic contributions.
Arte Público Press is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by US Hispanic authors. Its imprint for children and young adults, Piñata Books, is dedicated to the authentic portrayal of the themes, languages, characters and customs of Hispanic culture in the United States. Books published under the imprint serve as a bridge from home to school to support family literacy and elementary school education. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books and the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Hispanic literary arts and creativity.