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Reframing Public History through the Latinx Lens

Posted on Aug 7, 2017 by in The OFI Blog |

Programs across the Smithsonian Institution (SI) are dedicated to increasing the representation of many cultures and backgrounds; this goal is upheld through the diversity of academic appointees and collections. One such program is the Latino Museum Studies Program (LMSP), which provides graduate students with a network of Smithsonian scholars and professionals to discuss the role of Latinx cultures in the American experience. LMSP comprises lecture and workshop series in conjunction with a practicum project at a SI museum.

Stephanie Huezo, Maeve Coudrelle, Christina Azahar, and Shakti Castro (L to R) looking through recently acquired photographs at the Archives of the National Museum of American History. (Photo by Diana C. Bossa Bastidas)

Carlos Parra, who heard about the LMSP on a school trip to the SI three years ago, recalled a Smithsonian Latino Center’s statement on diversifying public history that sparked his interest. He is currently completing a thesis on the development of Spanish-language television in the latter part of the 20th century at the University of Southern California. Relatedly, Carlos was excited to see an SI practicum opportunity that focuses on Spanish-language television at the National Museum of American History, which is now his focus through the LMSP. Carlos explains how the LMSP provides an opportunity to explore museum careers when such work is not often emphasized in history or humanities-related formal education.

Since its inception, the LMSP has provided rich academic opportunities to almost 300 students in placements across the SI. Read more about the LMSP here.