House Approves Creation of National Museum of the American Latino
The bill allowing for the museum's establishment now must pass the Senate.
On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the creation of the country's first National Museum of the American Latino, which would be part of the Smithsonian Institution. “The building of a Latino Museum to honor the Hispanic community’s history and contributions to our nation is long overdue,” New York Representative José Serrano, who introduced the bill, told The Hill. The bill now must pass the Senate, after which it would move to the president's desk for approval.
The Smithsonian's lack of Latino representation has been called part of "a pattern of willful neglect." "This is the pivotal moment for the American Latino Museum campaign that has been in the works since 1994," said Estuardo Rodríguez, president and CEO of Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino. "It's not across the finish line yet, but we're very close."
Proponents of the museum estimate that it would cost about $700 million, with about half of that budget coming from the federal government and the other half coming from private trustees. The bill would compel the Smithsonian to begin an 18-month study about the museum's feasibility and to start looking for possible locations on the National Mall.
While the House approval is great news, the fight is not over. By comparison, the National Museum of African American History and Culture that opened in 2016 was first proposed in the 1920s. Earlier this year, the House passed a bill for the creation of a women's history museum as well, but it has not yet been voted on by the Senate.