The old aspiration of a museum about the Latino experience in the United States is a little closer to being fulfilled. A donation of two million dollars (1.75 million euros) from the Wells Fargo company will help advance the project, which was approved in December 2020 by the United States Congress and will be part of the monumental network of museums Smithsonian in Washington, which turns 175 in 2021.
On the way to the creation of the National Museum of the American Latino, which, according to a Smitshonian spokesperson, will cost “about 10 or 12 years”, the first will be the opening of the Molina Family Latino Gallery, which will be installed along of 2022 in the Museum of the History of the United States, also in the federal capital.
With an area of about 420 square meters, it will be named after the family of David and Mary Molina, descendants of a doctor who made his fortune in the medical sector. He founded a clinic in California in 1980 after verifying that the emergency services where he worked were overflowing with patients who came to them, not because of an emergency, but because of the deficient primary care they received from the health system. Molina, who passed away in 1996, turned that business into a Fortune 500 company called Molina Healthcare. In his memory, his five children made a donation of 10 million dollars to start the museum of the Latin American.
The donation places Wells Fargo as one of the first corporate founders of the project. In a statement, Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center and acting director of the National Museum of the American Latino, thanked this help to tell the story of a minority that accounts for 18% of the population “from the perspective of the great diversity of Latinas and Latinos who have lived it [en Estados Unidos] and that they continue to arrive in the country ”.
It is planned that the new gallery will be dedicated to temporary exhibitions. The first will be titled Present! The Latin history of the United States, and will show, according to the institution, “stories of discovery, identity, immigration, innovation, entrepreneurship and success to an audience of great intergenerational diversity.”
The statement clarifies that “Wells Fargo has been linked to the Latino community since 1800, when the financial company offered bilingual services and thus hired Spanish-speaking personnel.” Charlie Scharf, CEO of the third largest bank in the country by market capitalization, adds: “We have a continuing responsibility to make our company and our communities more diverse, egalitarian, and inclusive, we are excited to be able to collaborate with the Smithsonian in that mission.”
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