October 18, 2011

Members of the federal commission to study the feasibility of a The National Museum of the American Latino applauded the introduction of bipartisan, bicameral legislation to establish the Smithsonian American Latino Museum, as recommended by the National Museum of the American Latino (NMAL) Commission. The legislation also designates the museum’s location within the Smithsonian’s Art and Industries building on the National Mall.

Henry R. Muñoz III, Chairman of the National Museum of the American Latino Commission, said: “Today is historic. The bipartisan legislation authored by Senator Robert Menendez, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Marco Rubio, moves us closer to the day when the contributions of Latinos to every aspect of American history and culture are celebrated on our National Mall. As Chairman of the Commission to study the feasibility of a National Museum of the American Latino, indeed, as one of the more than fifty million United States citizens of Latino Heritage, I want to thank Senator Menendez, Majority Leader Reid, and Senator Rubio for their leadership and belief in the importance of establishing the Smithsonian American Latino Museum, a institution that will illuminate the American story for all.”

Under the leadership of Chairman Henry R. Muñoz III of Texas, Vice Chairman Emilio Estefan of Florida, and Vice Chairman Susan Gonzales of California, the congressionally-established and presidentially-appointed NMAL Commission was tasked to study the potential of a national museum dedicated to the art, culture, and history of the Latino Community in the United States. The commission delivered its final report to President Obama and Congressional leaders in May. This bipartisan legislation was introduced by U.S. Senators Robert Menendez, Harry Reid, Marco Rubio, and U.S. Representatives Xavier Becerra and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

“The story of the American Latino is an integral part of our national narrative and it is only fitting that this story be reflected in a museum that is located on our nation’s front yard,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, whose department was responsible forworking with the Commission on their study. “Thanks to the Commission’s thorough report and the tremendous bipartisan support behind this project as demonstrated by today’s bill, we are making progress in commemorating the countless contributions of Latinos to our country.”

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