In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Michigan State University (MSU) Museum is excited to present a special event titled “Building a Legacy: Inside the Journey to Establish the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Latino,” featuring the founding director Jorge Zamanillo. This free public program will take place on Thursday, October 5, at the Communications Arts and Sciences Building on the campus of Michigan State University.
Created by an act of Congress on December 20, 2020, the National Museum of the American Latino was established to celebrate the rich tapestry of Latino culture, history, and contributions in the United States. Serving as a beacon of representation and education, the museum is dedicated to highlighting the enduring influences of Latino communities on the nation’s social, cultural, and political landscapes. Founded as a crucial addition to the Smithsonian Institution, it seeks to bridge gaps in understanding and amplify the stories of American Latinos across generations.
Jorge Zamanillo, formerly the executive director and CEO of HistoryMiami Museum, was appointed as the founding director on May 2, 2021. In this role, Zamanillo leads the effort to build the museum from the ground up and strives to embody the essence of a 21st-century culturally specific institution.
The program will commence with a reception from 6:00 – 7:00 PM, followed by a moderated discussion with Zamanillo from 7:00 – 8:30 PM. Register for the in-person event here. For those unable to attend in person, a live stream of the event will be available (https://livestream.com/wkar/buildinglegacy).
This event is made possible due to the MSU Museum’s special relationship with the Smithsonian. The MSU Museum earned the distinction of becoming Michigan’s inaugural Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in September 2001. Since then, the museums have collaborated on numerous initiatives that advance research, generate new knowledge, and bolster public engagement. Notable recent collaborations include the MSU Museum hosting the “Knowing Nature: Stories of the Boreal Forest” exhibition, participating in the “National Youth Summit,” and partnering on the “African American Craft Initiative” project.
Devon Akmon, director of the MSU Museum, expressed excitement about this collaboration, stating, “We’re proud to welcome Jorge Zamanillo for our “Building a Legacy” event this National Hispanic Heritage Month. Our enduring partnership with the Smithsonian Institution continues to afford a robust array of timely, relevant, and cutting-edge activities and programs. This event exemplifies that commitment.”
This event promises to offer a unique opportunity to hear from a true cultural champion and gain insights into the Smithsonian’s exciting new museum dedicated to honoring Latino heritage.
This program is supported by the Diana Huizar Rivera and Pedro Rivera, DO Mexican American Culture Endowment.