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Thank you to all who made a generous year-end contribution to the Smithsonian Latino Center. Your support allows us to continue telling the story of Latinos in the U.S. through dynamic public programs, research, and engaging exhibitions. We are happy to share that December first-time donors almost doubled from last year! There is still time to secure your copy of Our Journeys/Our Stories: Portraits of Latino Achievement, a catalogue of portraits of influential Latinos. The first twelve donors in January will receive a copy as a token of our appreciation for your support. Act quickly and make a contribution today!

2014 Hispanic Heritage Month Family Day, National Portrait Gallery. Image courtesy Smithsonian Institution.


The multinational United Fruit Company is responsible for significant, if unplanned, contributions to our understanding of Central America's ancestral past. As perhaps the most powerful U.S. corporation in Latin America over the past century, it offered company owners, employees, and the occasional scholar vast access to rich agricultural lands that preserved some of the region's most impressive pre-Hispanic cities. Archeological excavations undertaken at these sites would be considered unprofessional by today's standards, but the pottery, jade, gold, and stone objects collected by a few United Fruit Company—affiliated individuals were ultimately deposited in some of the most highly regarded museums in the U.S., including the Museum of the American Indian-Heye Foundation in New York City.

-- Excerpt by scholar Dr. Alexander Benítez in Revealing Ancestral Central America

Read more about the United Fruit Company and Minor Keith by downloading a free copy of Revealing Ancestral Central America by clicking here. You can also learn more in the current exhibit Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America's Past Revealed on view at the National Museum of the American Indian in DC through February 15.

Greater Nicoya female figure on a feline-effigy bench, AD 800-1200. Linea vieja area, Costa Rica. Formerly in the collection of Carlos S. Balser; MAI exchange with William Hawker, 1959.


Stay tuned for some incredible opportunities this summer for graduating high school seniors and graduate students. We are proud to announce and celebrate the 10th anniversary of our Young Ambassadors Program (YAP) taking place June 22-28 in DC and then continuing for another four weeks in partnering cities and institutions across the country. Immediately following on June 29 we will celebrate another year of our Latino Museum Studies Program (LMSP), where we welcome a select group of graduate students for a five-week intensive summer experience at the Smithsonian. More information for both programs can be found at  Applications for both YAP and LMSP will be released on our website in early February. Stay tuned and contact us at (202) 633-1240 with any questions.

Latino Museum Studies Program, 2014 Class. Image courtesy of John Gibbons, Smithsonian Institution.


With the start of another year we want to make sure you know about some exciting Smithsonian Latino-themed exhibits around the country. For those in the western U.S., Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art will open at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City on February 6. This will mark the third stop in a current seven-city tour since opening in D.C. in October 2013. Portraiture Now: Staging the Self will remain in D.C. at the National Portrait Gallery through April 12 and will then travel to the America's Society in New York City in early June and eventually land in New Mexico at the National Hispanic Cultural on November 13. Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America's Past Revealed is also in D.C. at the National Museum of the American Indian through February 15 and will then make a short trip to New York City to open on April 18 at the George Gustav-Heye Center.  Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1962, one of the Smithsonian's most popular traveling exhibitions and one that has been on view, in two versions, since 2009 can be enjoyed at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center-Wasco County Historical Museum in The Dalles, Oregon through February 15. Finally, American Sabor: Latinos in Popular U.S. Music is close to wrapping up its multi-city U.S. tour and is currently on view at the Atlanta History Center until February 8.

The Smithsonian is committed to making its programs accessible to millions of individuals in and outside of D.C. through traveling exhibits as well as virtually via our Latino Virtual Museum and also through Smithsonian Affiliations.

Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1962. Photo by Leonard Nadel, National Museum of American History.

Judithe Hernández, Reina de la Primavera, from Míchicano 1977 Calendario, 1976, screenprint, 22 x 28 in. Smithsonian American Art Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment. 2012.53.6 ©1976, Judithe Hernández.


We occasionally highlight an interesting Smithsonian project that has received support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, a federal appropriation that provides funding for Smithsonian programs that focus on U.S.-Latino experiences and contributions to science, history, art, music and society. This month we are focusing on the Diseño series, a collaboration of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and El Museo del Barrio, both located in New York City. This program will offer presentations and workshops led by leading Latino designers to highlight their contributions to historic and contemporary design. Don't miss the next program on Wednesday, January 21 in New York. More information by clicking here.

Phil Jimenez, "Wonder Woman," 600th Issue anniversary tribute, 2011. Courtesy of Phil Jimenez.


We are currently seeking students enrolled in a four-year college or recent college graduates for a fundraising internship opportunity that will support our Center's advancement activities. This internship will provide valuable fundraising research and contact management experience as well as exposure to a non-profit arts organization. The application is available for spring and summer applicants. Please complete your application by January 30 for spring semester consideration! For more information on applying for this internship click here or contact Jennifer Prats at


Our Young Ambassadors Program (YAP) alumni network convened a Conexiones networking event at HistoryMiami on December 22. The event connected alumni with established experts in the arts: Aida Levitan, President of ArtesMiami and Ramiro Ortiz, President of HistoryMiami. The event coincided with the announcement of HistoryMiami as a new internship partner for the 2015. This event was made possible by our Smithsonian National Latino Board Vice Chair Aida Levitan and the support of ArtesMiami. We would also like to announce the success of the YAP Giving Tuesday campaign #YAPgiveback, which surpassed its goal by almost 40%. Thank you to all alumni who participated in the campaign and those who pledged support to the program through volunteer efforts. We look forward to YAP alumni participating in #YAPgetinvolved during Alumni Weekend, June 26-28.

2014 YAP Conexiones, Miami, Fl. Image courtesy of Smithsonian Latino Center.


We were honored to be recognized by the Dominican Studies Institute at the Dominican Intellectual Legacy Gala in New York City on December 6. Our Center along with our National Museum of American History and Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage were recipients of the Groundbreaking Institution Award for our commitment to documenting the collective experience and contributions of the Dominican people to U.S. society. The Smithsonian has collaborated with the Dominican Studies Institute to build a collection of Dominican music, musical performances, and to record the oral histories of Dominican pioneers who were first to enter mainstream America.


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Smithsonian Latino Center · P.O Box 37012, MRC 512 · Washington, DC 20013-7012 · USA