El Museo del Barrio is one of the foremost Latin American cultural institutions in the United States. Its permanent collection—10,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, works on paper, films, pre-Columbian objects and farm and household implements—illustrates for a visitor the Latin American culture of astounding depth and richness. Regular exhibitions in the museum's first-floor galleries display these holdings in a variety of contemporary and historical contexts.
The museum also offers bilingual screenings of classic and contemporary Latin American films; a variety of live musical, dramatic and dance performances; workshops; lectures; scholarly symposiums; festivals; special educational programs for children; an artist's register and a residency program for artists and writers.
El Museo del Barrio was founded in 1969 in a public school classroom in Spanish Harlem. In 1977 it moved to its present location along the city's celebrated Museum Mile in the city-owned Heckscher Pavilion.
The museum hosts many events that feature the Spanish language in song and word, including a Spanish-language book club. Most events are appropriate for both Spanish and English speakers.
Family Day: At this semi-annual festival (October and June), families enjoy guided tours of the current exhibitions, artist-led workshops, live music and storytelling.
El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead): In early November, El Museo del Barrio hosts a family celebration of the ancient Mexican holiday. Families learn about the holiday’s customs, and enjoy guided tours of the current exhibitions, artist-led workshops, live music and performance.
Three Kings Day Parade and Celebration: In early January, this colorful event, popular throughout the Spanish-speaking world, celebrates the holiday spirit of generosity and hope. Visitors join the Three Kings and their live camels and donkeys as they weave their way through the streets of East Harlem in this traditional festival of the Epiphany, which ends the Christmas season.
Family Programs: A new, monthly bilingual (English-Spanish) program offers families an opportunity to explore Latin American and Caribbean art and culture together. Featuring a new theme each month, workshops provide a variety of activities for children and their adult partners including artist-led gallery talks, art workshops, music and film programs. Workshops are designed for children ages 5-11 (ages vary by workshop) and are offered on the 3rd Saturday of each month.
Students explore the art and culture of Latin America and the Caribbean on guided tours or workshops. Guided tours, led by artist educators, reflect the museum’s approach of engaging students in dialogue while looking at selected works of art. Workshops build upon observation skills and offer a hands-on experience. After an abbreviated tour in the galleries, artist educators facilitate an art-making experience for the students in El Museo’s Taller, or studio workshop.