El Museo del Barrio

El Museo del Barrio (Spanish for: The Museum of the district ) is a museum of art from Latin America and the Caribbean in New York City.


The Museo del Barrio is located in East Harlem in New York City borough of Manhattan on Fifth Avenue and 104th Street on the northern end of Museum Mile.


The founding of the museum in 1969 came through the use of nuyorikanischen concluded ( as the Puerto Ricans of New York City are called ) movement and the civil rights movement who were protesting against the lack of cultural diversity in the educational offerings of New York City. So from the beginning were both the presentation and the presentation of art and culture from Latin America ( Puerto Rico) central concern of the museum. So was commissioned at the beginning of the artist Raphael Montañez Ortíz and educator with the preparation of materials for schools in East Harlem and Central Harlem, which should shed light on Puerto Rican art, history and culture. In order for this project and museum originally served primarily as a neighborhood institution, the Puerto Ricans East Harlem.

In the 1970s, the museum was a non-profit organization that was initially housed in shops and townhouses, to the museum 's present location in the Heckscher Building was able to move on Fifth Avenue and 104th Street. During this time, the museum received the first donation for a permanent exhibition and organized the first major exhibition in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art entitled "The Art Heritage of Puerto Rico ".

During the 1980s, more exhibitions and educational programs increasingly been realized and the exhibition area thoroughly renovated. In the second half of the decade, the Museo threatened almost off, after the financial management of the museum became the focus of investigations and the accounts of the museum were locked. The then Director was subsequently dismissed and thanks to the volunteer work of the staff, the museum could survive this time.

In the 1990s, the theater and the exhibition space was renovated and the Museo could be financially stable again. It was introduced a new logo for the museum and because of the continuous influx of Latin American immigrants - mostly Puerto Ricans - New York City the remit of the museum was expanded, which led to conflicts with some artists, scholars and community activists, the most original, local application of the wanted to hold the museum. The debates here about stopped in the 2000s.

Finally, then the order of the museum from its local tailoring to all Puerto Ricans and Latin Americans has been expanded in the United States in the new millennium. An Oral History Project, a permanent exhibition of a five-part publication and a traveling exhibition were completed.

Because since 2000, with the new orientation of the museum also increased the number of visitors, the exhibition space was increasingly too small. However, an extension of the exhibition space in the Heckscher Building is not possible, because next to the museum in this building several other organizations and several municipal institutions are still housed - including a school.

For some years there have been considerations, the Museum of the City of New York, which is located in the immediate vicinity to move to the historic Tweed Courthouse in Lower Manhattan. The Museo del Barrio would then be able to move into the vacant building and thus had much more exhibition space. But then decided to accommodate at the City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the new New York City Department of Education Tweed Courthouse, which hopes to put an end to both museums. Thereupon the El Museo del Barrio has decided to a 15 - million - dollar project to tackle in order to convert the court into an open glazed hall to give the museum a fair, public "face" to the street. Here is also a café is housed with event option. This project, however, can not increase the exhibition space, which remains the main concern of the museum.


The museum has an art collection with about 6,500 exhibits from the pre-Columbian era, archaeological artifacts, a large Taíno permanent exhibition as well as art, crafts, graphics and pop culture elements of the 20th and 21st centuries. There are regular temporary exhibitions of modern art from Puerto Rico and Latin America. The museum also holds an annual festival and numerous educational programs. Part of the permanent exhibition of the museum can be visited online.

Selection of past exhibitions:

  • June to August 2010: " Retro / Active: the Work of Rafael Ferrer "
  • March to May 2010: "Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement"
  • October 2009 to February 2010: " Nexus New York: Latin / American Artists in New York "
  • September 2009-January 2010: "Arte ≠ Vida "