Photo: American Latino Museum Commission
There is a renewed push for the creation of a National Latino Museum in Washington, D.C. being led by a group of bipartisan Latino legislators that include Florida Senator Marco Rubio, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez and California Congressman Xavier Becerra.
The proposed legislation would allow the shuttered Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building to be reconfigured as the American Latino Museum with an estimated price tag of $402 million. The Friends of the American Latino Museum has been fund raising in order to cover at least $325 million by private donations.
The idea for a Museum celebrating Latinos has been bantered about for some time. Passing the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act would designate space along the National Mall to the project and create a landmark to the culture and contributions of the Latino community to the U.S.
Two years ago a presidential commission called for the creation of the museum but the idea never went anywhere in Congress. There has been a lot of Latino Hollywood support for the idea that includes Eva Longoria, Emilio Estefan, Rita Moreno, Prince Royce, Chita Rivera, Rosario Dawson and Mario Lopez.
In 2012 leaders in both the House and the Senate submitted letters of support urging for the inclusion of language in the appropriations bill that expressed support for the creation of a Smithsonian American Latino Museum. Their effort stalled but hopefully this renewed push will revive the project.