– U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) today were joined by a bipartisan group of Senate colleagues in introducing the National Museum of the American Latino Act to initiate the process of creating a museum to educate current and future generations on the vast political, social, cultural and economic contributions to American life by Latino Americans. Similar legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. José E. Serrano (D-N.Y.) and Will Hurd (R-Texas) with the support of 15 other colleagues.

“It’s hard to believe that in the year 2019, a museum devoted to Latino history does not already exist,” said Sen. Menendez. “From day one, Hispanics have shaped this nation in countless ways – as military leaders, as pioneers in business and the arts, as activists and elected officials—all of them committed to the American dream. Our legislation will establish a National Museum of the American Latino right where it belongs, here in our nation’s capital alongside the Native American Museum, the African American Museum, and the Smithsonian’s many other fine institutions.”

“American Latino history and culture is woven throughout the fabric of our country,” said Sen. Cornyn. “Nearly 40 percent of all Texans identify as Hispanic, and I’m proud to partner with Senator Menendez in the fight to honor their contributions by establishing a new museum in the Smithsonian Institution.”

“Latinos have played an integral part in America’s history since its founding. Their stories, contributions, and sacrifices deserve a place in Washington, D.C. that honors and showcases an important part of our shared history. With passage of this legislation, we will be one step closer to making the American Latino Museum a reality. This is one of a few truly bipartisan and bicameral efforts in the Congress that honors Latinos’ diverse contributions to the American story. I am proud to work with Congressman Hurd to lead this effort in the House, and thankful for Senator Menendez’s and Senator Cornyn’s leadership in the Senate,” said Rep. Serrano.

“The story of our nation cannot be told without telling the story of Latino Americans. Throughout our country the contributions of Latinos can be clearly seen and heard, and in my majority-Hispanic district, I have seen firsthand Latinos shaping our history and culture across South and West Texas communities each and every day,” said Rep. Hurd.

Sens. Menendez and Cornyn, and Reps. Serrano and Hurd, joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of Congressional members and community advocates to discuss the need and importance of establishing a national Latino Museum and urge passage of the bill in Congress.

In 2008, with the support of President George W. Bush, Congress created the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of the National Museum of the American Latino. In 2011, the Commission submitted its report to President Barack Obama and Congress, eloquently declaring: “At this moment in our country’s history when cultural understanding could not be more important to the enduring strength of our democratic ideals, we ask that you consider the importance of creating The Smithsonian American Latino Museum, not only as a monument for Latinos, but as a 21st Century learning laboratory rooted in the mission that every American should have access to the stories of all Americans.”

The National Museum of the American Latino Act would:

  • Board of Trustees: Creates a 19 Member Board of Trustees to help plan and design the construction of the Museum, and; develop the Museum’s collections in order to showcase the life, art, history and culture of American Latinos and their contributions to the United States.

  • Educational Grants and Scholarships: Authorizes the Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services in to establish grants and educational programs for children and adults to learn about Latino life, art, history and culture.

  • Site Designation: Allows the Board of Trustees to explore several sites for either the new construction or development of the Museum.

Joining Sens. Menendez and Cornyn on the Senate bill are Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.).