WASHINGTON — During separate ceremonies today at the White House and on Capitol Hill, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joined bipartisan members of the National Museum of the American Latino (NMAL) Commission and activist/actress Eva Longoria and Emilio Estefan to celebrate the delivery of the NMAL Final Report to President Obama and Congressional leaders.
“Today marks a milestone for the rich and diverse history of our nation, and is a proud moment for the Latino Community,” said Secretary Salazar. “With the creation of a national museum rooted here, in our nation’s capital, the contributions of Latinos will forever be recognized and woven into the American story. I thank the Commission for their thorough report and service to our country.”
Under the leadership of Chairman Henry R. Muñoz III, 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. In the course of its work, the Commission consulted with the Smithsonian Institution, the National Capital Planning Commission, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, and the Department of the Interior
“We provide to you a plan for a national museum that preserves and shares a vital part of our nation’s heritage for the benefit of all people interested in the richness of the American experience,” said Chairman Henry R. Muñoz III. “Over the past year, we have undertaken an exhaustive process to prepare and deliver a comprehensive report in response to the Act of Congress that created the Commission. We have done this with the assistance of a long list of experts across the nation.”
Following the Commission’s first meeting in 2009, the 23 members held eight public forums across the country to engage communities in a conversation which generated valuable input, ideas, and sentiments regarding the feasibility of an American Latino museum in Washington, D.C.
Since its conception, the creation of the National Museum of the American Latino has been a bipartisan effort. The authors of the original legislation in the House were U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra of California and U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, and in the Senate, former Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado, now serving as the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Senator Mel Martinez of Florida. The legislation was signed into law by former President George W. Bush on May 2008 and is being implemented by President Barack Obama.
The Commission’s Final Report includes: