Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum offers full slate of programs, exhibits and galleries — only a click away — While debate is still raging on the feasibility of creating the National Museum of the American Latino in Washington, D.C., which would focus on American Latino art, history and culture, there is already a Latino museum open and accessible to everyone in the country — via computer.

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Launched in 2009 by the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum (LVM) in Second Life is updated regularly with art, music and literary videos. Visitors create their own avatars to explore the online treasure chest of the essence that comprises Latino heritage.

Since its launch, the site has striven to be as interactive as possible by creating a blog, a Flickr account, YouTube and UStream channels, and just recently a Twitter page.

Now, another project is planned to bring the at-large Latino community into the virtual doors of the museum.

LVM is partnering with writers, poets and community literary groups to bring and promote the best of our cultura and palabras in the virtual world.

LVM is planning future in-world writing workshops, poetry readings, performances and interviews with Latino writers from across the globe.

In addition, the museum will launch this year a new 3-D role playing game, called Mi Tierra, Mi Mundo, where players learn about the links between culture and land and water ecosystems.

For a museum that sports the tagline, “Que viva nuestra cultura,” it’s an added bonus to see programming that shows how culture doesn’t just impact people but the environment as well.