WASHINGTON D.C. - US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Majority Leader Reid (D-NV), US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) today reintroduced bipartisan legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives to authorize the Smithsonian's Arts and Industries building on the National Mall as the designated location of the Smithsonian American Latino Museum. This authorization of the museum follows the recommendations of the May 2011 report by the bipartisan Commission to Study the Potential Creation of the National Museum of American Latino, a Commission that was established by law in 2008.

Senator Menendez said: "We are in a new era in which Latinos are a much greater part of our national discourse. Through the years, our numbers have grown as well as our significance to the story of America. A Museum of the American Latino would officially acknowledge our great history in the United States, and educate visitors about how the success of this country could not have been accomplished without the achievements of Hispanic Americans. For years, I have led the push to bring to this long overdue project to fruition. With the reintroduction of this legislation, I am hopeful that - with the help of my colleagues in both chambers - we can finally make a national museum that honors the countless political, cultural, and economic contributions of America's Latino community a reality."

Senate Majority Leader Reid said: "It is time for our country to have a special place where the Hispanic culture and its people can be honored and recognized for being an integral part of our national identity. Senator Menendez and I have been working hard to make the Latino museum a reality," Reid said. "For centuries, Americans of Hispanic descent have helped shape the history of Nevada and the country. Latinos have contributed to every facet of our lives and culture, they have spurred progress in our laboratories, playing fields, halls of justice, art, literature and the economy. It's time to build this museum."

Senator Rubio said: "Authorizing the use of federal land on the National Mall is an important step in laying the ground work to establish the American Latino Museum. This will be an enduring monument as much to the people who have found opportunity and refuge in America as it is a tribute to our exceptional country that has always welcomed people and helped them realize their dreams like no other place in human history. At a time when our nation faces major economic and fiscal challenges, I am pleased that this effort will not rely on taxpayer dollars and that this bill will encourage private fundraising efforts to make it a reality."

Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus Xavier Becerra (D-CA) said: "Since our founding, Americans of Latino descent have played an important role in our nation's story - in every chapter and at every turn. Yet their lives and diverse contributions to our nation's enduring prosperity remain largely unseen and untold. Today, with the reintroduction of this bipartisan legislation, I continue the decade-long work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to bring the American Latino Museum to the National Mall. America's past is strongly rooted in the hope, sacrifice, and perseverance of Latinos, and its future will grow with new generations of American Latinos. Let us now move forward in honoring this history for all Americans to witness with pride."

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen said: "Hispanic-Americans have contributed immensely to the social, political, and cultural fabric of this great nation. From our community's involvement in the armed forces, to the struggles of activists who fought for civil rights, and the accomplishments of leaders in the fields of sports, music, film, science and medicine, Hispanic-Americans have profoundly shaped the history of the United States. Through the Latino belief that nothing is impossible, and anything can be accomplished, we are all compelled to remember that this country was built on the tenets of hard work, perseverance and dedication. For these reasons, I support the efforts to establish the National American Latino Museum as part of the Smithsonian family. As the world's largest museum and research complex, the Smithsonian is a testament to the power of the human mind and spirit. By celebrating the past successes of the Latino community, this museum will empower the next generation of Hispanic-Americans to continue a legacy of excellence for generations to come."

PDF OF THE LEGISLATION (S.568): http://www.menendez.senate.gov/download/?id=6c101bda-f80e-4dcc-84b7-6970e006c079


The Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act


Following the work of the bipartisan Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino, a Commission established by law on May 8, 2008, Senators Menendez and Reid are introducing legislation that would authorize the Arts and Industries building of the Smithsonian Institution as the designated location of the Smithsonian American Latino Museum.

This museum has widespread support from the Hispanic community across the nation, and would tell all Americans the story of American Latinos, who have contributed to the political, social, cultural and economic vitality of the United States since the founding of this nation.

  • Site Designation: The bill designates the Arts and Industries Building (AIB) as the location of the museum, including an annex that would be constructed underground and adjacent to the AIB. The bill requires that the planning, design and construction of the museum be harmonious with open space and visual sightlines of the National Mall.
  • Site Development: The legislation gives the Board of Regents 18 months to conduct a plan of action study to determine the best way to plan, design, fund and construct the Museum of the American Latino, taking into account the Commission's report.
  • Funding: As written, the bill simply authorizes a site to allow for private fundraising to begin for the planning, designing and construction of the museum.