El Museo del Barrio is a museum located in the east Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. It is often referred to as the El Museo. It stands at the northern end of the Museum Mile, north of the Museum of the City of New York. Founded in the year 1969, the said museum specialized in Latin American and Caribbean art. It gives emphasis on the artworks from Puerto Pico and the Puerto Rican community in New York City.
The El Museo features an extensive collection of more than 8,500 pieces which covers pre-Columbian and traditional artifacts. The collection includes a large permanent Taino exhibit, the 20th century arts and graphs, graphics, popular media, Mexican masks, textiles from Chile, and traditional art from Puerto Rico. It also houses temporary exhibits on Puerto Rican and Latino modern art.
Aside from that, the museum sponsors a number of festivals and educational programs all throughout the year, including the annual Three Kings Day parade. Because of lack of space during the 2009 to 2010 expansion, the museum started to place some of their permanent collection online. This somehow served as a means of audience development too.
And to reach new audiences, El Museum partnered with some organizations for joint exhibits like the Nueva York (New York Historical Society) and the Caribbean Crossroads.
A Piece of the Museum’s History
Originally, the venue where the museum stands was a Fire Station during the Nuvorican Movement and the Civil Rights Movement. The group includes a number of parents, educators and community activists. The artist and educator Rafael Ortiz was assigned to create materials for schools in the East and Central Harlem that would highlight Puerto Rican art, history, as well as the culture. Ortiz then reconceived the project as a community museum, wherein it mainly functions as a neighborhood institution serving the Puerto Ricans.
The museum also pursued to define itself as an educational institution and its original location was a public school classroom. With the increasing number of the Latino population in New York, the scope of the museum expanded.
In the year 1977, El Museo joined the Cultural Institutions Group which somehow helped increase and maintain the funding of the museum. The funding got frozen in the 1980s following a period of mismanagement. Luckily, it was able to successfully rebound and grow.
- Location: 1230 Fifth Avenue, New York
- Contact No.: 212-831-7272
- Email Address: [email protected]
- Official Website: www.elmuseo.org
- Hours of Operation: Wed to Sun from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Thurs from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm; Archives are available by appointment only.
- Fees: $9 for Adults, $5 for Students and Seniors, Free for members and children below 12 years old
If you would like immerse in the culture and artworks of the Latin American, it is best to visit the museum. Know more about El Museo through their official website.