About El Museo del Barrio
El Museo del Barrio is one of the premier museums in New York City and the world for art representing the Latino, Caribbean and Latin American experience in its full diversity and collection of rich traditions. The name roughly translates to "The Museum of the 'Hood," as in neighborhood, and refers to the museum's East Harlem location and close connection with the local community. The Museum contributes not only a collection of Latin American art and artifacts but also a community center, neighborhood hangout, and cultural hub for Latinos in New York City. The museum focuses on artwork from all around the Caribbean, including everything from ancient indigenous artifacts to contemporary work by immigrants from the local area. The museum sends the message that all these elements play into what it means to be Latino, and its name is inextricably linked with the identity of being Latino, both in the US and south of the border. Artists who identify as Chicano, Puerto Rican, Latino, Mexican, Caribbean and Latin American all have art on display at El Museo. Anyone interested in the full spectrum of the Latino experience in the United States should be sure to visit "El Barrio" and partake not only in the art but in the variety of cultural festivals, performances, exhibitions and educational programs.
El Museo is easy enough to get to, located on the world-famous Museum Mile bordering the eastern edge of Central Park. Over fifteen museums in Manhattan are located along this mile-long stretch of culture, often regarded as the densest collection of art and artifacts anywhere in the world. El Museo del Barrio is at the intersection of Fifth Ave and 104th St., at the northernmost part of the Mile. Any of these museums in New York would provide a fine visiting opportunity, including the Museum for African Art just a few more blocks north, the Jewish Museum a little ways south and the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the intersection of 82nd and 5th. Visitors interested in seeing the exhibits at El Barrio should take the 6 train to 103rd and Lexington, which is just a few blocks away from the museum.
El Museo del Barrio contains one permanent collection titled "Voces y Visiones" (Voices and Visions) which consists of the intersection between three distinct types of Latin American art: modern and contemporary art dealing with the politics of identity and Latino heritage, Pre-Colombian and Pan-Caribbean indigenous arts and crafts greatly influenced by the Taino people of Puerto Rico, and artifacts from religions traditions with feet in both the modern and the ancient worlds, including Santeria, Candomble and Orisha. These include the ways in which these indigenous traditions blended with African religious traditions as well as with the Santos (saints) of Catholic tradition. This permanent collection is truly a fascinating look at the many spokes of Latin and Caribbean heritage. In addition, there are many temporary and traveling exhibitions that pass through El Museo's walls, which in past years have included a focus on the Chicano movement in the American Southwest, a retrospective on the work of artist Rafael Ferrer, and a political art exhibit on "Los Desaparecidos," or "the disappeared" - political prisoners in Latin America taken away from their families, never to be heard from again.
To contribute and give back to the vibrant community and culture that the museum celebrates, El Museo del Barrio offers a variety of free public programs for people of all ages, including lectures by famous Latin American writers, artists, musicians and scholars, live performances, panel discussions, dances, spoken word recitals, and more. Once a month on every third Saturday, the museum is free for anyone who wants to visit.
When you get back from visiting El Museo del Barrio, be sure to post about your experience at NYC Museums! You can upload reviews, videos, and photos of your trips to any of the museums in New York City to share with other members of our community. We grow because of your involvement and because of your passion for the museums in New York, so don't be shy about adding your content! There's such a rich diversity of art to be seen at El Museo del Barrio that we're sure you can find something you'd like to share on NYC Museums. So grab your camera, grab a notepad and go out to show us what there is to see!