The Smithsonian is the world's largest museum, education, and research complex, compromising of 19 museums. And, in the next decade or so, the institution intends on adding another two museums to its collection. One is the Smithsonian American Women's History Museum and the other is the National Museum of the American Latino.
Both of these projects have been in the works for several years but were only authorized by Congress in 2020. Now, the Smithsonian announced another exciting development, with a selection of four possible building sites for future museums. This includes The Arts and Industries Building located next to the Smithsonian Castle, a section of undeveloped land located north of the Capitol Reflecting Pool, a section of undeveloped land across from the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, and a section of undeveloped land near Raoul Wallenberg Place S.W. and Maine Avenue S.W.
“The National Museum of the American Latino will showcase Latino history, art, culture, and scientific achievements to tell a deeper, more nuanced, and complete story about who we are as a nation,” says Lonnie G. Bunch III, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution A recently opened exhibition at the National Museum of American History entitled ¡Presente! A Latino History of the United States, which covers the history of the U.S. through Latino perspectives, offers a preview of what the intended museum will be like.
Similarly, the Smithsonian American Women's History Museum can be currently experienced online during the long wait for a physical location. “The Smithsonian wants the role of women in American history to be well-known, accurate, acknowledged, and empowering,” it says on the Smithsonian website. “The museum will recognize women’s accomplishments, the history they made, and the communities they represent.”
While there is a lot of anticipation for these two museums, the Smithsonian believes they will open in at least 10 years from now, and potentially even longer. “It's an intricate process,” explains Jorge Zamanillo, founding director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Latino. “We know it's over a decade of fundraising and design construction and all those things,” he adds. Still, it seems like the new museums will definitely be worth the wait.