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Hispanic Heritage Museum Exhibits You NEED to Visit

Woman Visiting Art Gallery
Written by Going Places

For lovers of the rich Hispanic histories and cultures that have added so much color to America (and to the world as a whole), there’s plenty of good news. As it is National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15), there are numerous exhibits around the country that have opened their doors with tons of great information that’s both educational and entertaining. We’ve rounded up a list of five of our favorite exhibits across the U.S., so you can get your Hispanic Heritage and history fix, wherever you may be!

La Villita Historic Arts Village

San Antonio, Texas

The steps leading to La Villita at the San Antonio Riverwalk

If you’re the type of person who prefers a hands-on experience with history, then there’s no better place than La Villita. This small-village-turned-arts-community on the south bank of the San Antonio Riverwalk was one of San Antonio’s first neighborhoods. Now, it’s full of Hispanic history and artifacts, showcasing everything from Spanish architecture, Mexican folk art, and handmade jewelry and pottery, and strolling through it can be an experience like no other.

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California Legacies: Missions And Ranchos

Bowers Museum – Orange County, CA

California’s Hispanic population is one of the largest in America, and it’s exactly for this reason that it’s the perfect place to dig deeper into the growth of Hispanic culture in the southwestern U.S. The California Legacies exhibition at the Bowers Museum looks at Mexico’s rule of California and the Spanish-influenced societies that gave birth to an entire community. You can learn about migrants who ventured into California through Spanish land grants and the interesting lifestyles of the very first families during Mexico’s rule, and view many artifacts that were brought over by migrants — like the statue of St. Anthony that originally stood in the Serra Chapel at Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography

El Museo Del Barrio – New York City, NY

Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography is a captivating exhibit that chronicles the lives of urban Latinos in America set in the period from the 1960s to the 1980s. It features the concrete landscapes, urban development, and poignant moments that were all part of the day-to-day lives of the many hopeful Hispanics trying to capture the American dream. It’s a must-see if you love photography or are an avid photographer yourself.

Circo de la Ausencia

The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture – Chicago, IL

Embodying all the colorful and playful elements of a circus (the name translates to “Circus of Absence”), this very eccentric display brings to light many of the socio-political issue faced by Puerto Ricans. The theatrical troupe Y No Habia Luz uses the gallery to address everything from the colonialism of the past to the fight for gender equality of the present…and everything in between. If you want a museum visit that’s not your typical experience, then this is the place to be!

Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America’s Past Revealed

National Museum of the American Indian — New York City, NY
ceramic vessel from belize

Image via Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0Dennis Jarvis

The vibrant civilizations of Central America come alive in this bilingual exhibit that showcases ceramics that help tell the stories of the indigenous peoples that once populated Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. With over 15o objects to view, you’ll get a rich serving of the diverse cultures, beliefs, and societal behavior that gave birth to some of the most prominent Hispanic cultures of today.


Have any favorite Hispanic heritage exhibits to add to the list? Let us know what they are in the comments section!


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