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New museum dedicated to Mexican-American experience in S. CA opens first with online portal

LatinaLista — While Washington still debates, surveys and sets up exploratory committees on the viability of establishing a national Latino museum, Los Angeles has wasted no time in creating a museum that honors the first Latinos to make a contribution to the City of Angels — Mexican Americans.

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LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes is scheduled to open on April 15, 2011. It is a museum with the specific focus on the Mexican American experience in Los Angeles and Southern California. It’s located near the site where Los Angeles was founded in 1781.

In the meantime, the museum’s staff has already flung open the doors of their bilingual online site providing visitors with a peek into the kinds of exhibits, interactive activities and special events to be found at the museum.

For example on the second floor of the museum, people will find a reproduction of a 1920s Los Angeles Main Street:

Calle Principal invites visitors of all ages to explore the Mexican American community of downtown Los Angeles during the 1920s. Located on the second floor of the historic Plaza House, Calle Principal is an evocative re-creation of 1920s-era Main Street, at the time the heart of Los Angeles’s growing immigrant community.

Featuring a variety of vignettes–a grocery store, portrait studio, clothing store, phonograph and record store, pharmacy, and more–it offers visitors a hands-on investigation of daily life during that period, encouraging them to make connections between the past and the present.

There will even be a shared exhibit between the physical museum and its online counterpart. The exhibit, called Voces Vivas, is an original short film series interviewing prominent Mexican Americans as they recount their varied experiences.

However, from its website, it’s clear the museum doesn’t just want to remind people of the past contributions of Mexican Americans, but create new ones. They will be offering student art workshops and tours.

Until the museum officially opens, people can keep up with its ongoing announcements via its website, blog, Facebook and Twitter pages.

A grand inaugural gala is planned for the museum featuring well-known entertainers. It’s a sure bet there will be folklorico dancing and mariachi music too!

Everybody ready for a grito?

A portion of the series Voces Vivas:

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