National Museum of the American Latino Commission Holds Inaugural Meeting

Last edited 09/29/2021

Washington, DC -- A federal commission to study the potential creation of a National Museum of the American Latino met for the first time on September 18 and 19, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

The bi-partisan Congressional Act that created the commission was signed into law by President Bush and held its first meetings under President Obama. The Commission consists of 23 members appointed by the President and the Majority and Minority Leaders of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Commission will study the potential of a national museum in Washington, D.C. dedicated to the art, culture, and history of the Latino Community in the United States. A report outlining a plan for the museum is to be submitted to Congress and the White House within two years of the first meeting of the Commission.

The White House appointees include: Dr. Gilberto Cárdenas of Indiana, Emilio Estefan of Florida, Dr. José B. Fernández of Florida, Andrés López of Puerto Rico, Cindy Peña of Colorado, Abigail M. Pollack of Florida, and Cid Wilson of New Jersey. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appointed Moctesuma Esparza of California, Carlos Ezeta of Nevada, Susan Gonzales of California, and Dr. Emma Sepúlveda of Nevada.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed Dame Sandy Colón Peltyn of Nevada, Ellie López-Bowlan of Nevada, Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón of Florida, and Sean D. Reyes of Utah. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi appointed Luis R. Cancel of California, Lorraine García-Nakata of California, Eva Longoria Parker of Texas, and Henry R. Muñoz III of Texas. House Minority Leader John Boehner appointed Nelson Albareda of Florida, Rosa J. Correa of Connecticut, Dr. Aida Levitan of Florida; and Danny Vargas of Virginia.

Members were chosen for the Commission based on qualifications in museum administration, expertise in fundraising, experience in public service, and demonstrated commitment to the research, study or promotion of American Latino life, art, history, or culture.

Congressman Xavier Becerra of California authored the bill and introduced it in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado, who now serves as Secretary of the Interior, presented it in the U.S. Senate. The bill was co-sponsored by Republicans and Democrats in both chambers and was signed into law in May 2008.

Secretary Salazar, speaking about the first meeting of the Commission, stated, “The National Museum of the American Latino Commission is a select group of Americans that have been called upon to provide a plan for a national museum that preserves and shares a vital part of our nation's heritage for the benefit of all people interested in the richness of the American experience.”

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