First Institution in San Francisco to be Affiliated with the World’s Largest Museum

The Mexican Museum today announced that it has received the distinction of being named an Affiliate of the world-renowned Smithsonian Institution.  This Affiliation establishes a long-term partnership between the Smithsonian and The Mexican Museum, and includes the future loan of Smithsonian artworks and artifacts to The Mexican Museum’s collections. Not only does The Mexican Museum join a short but esteemed list of museums around the nation to hold this Affiliate status, but it is also thefirst museum in San Francisco to be granted this honor.


Mr. Harold A. Closter, Director of Smithsonian Affiliations, traveled from Washington, D.C. to present a Certificate of Affiliation to The Mexican Museum at a special Press Conference held today at the museum.


“The Smithsonian Institution is honored to forge this affiliation with The Mexican Museum,” said Closter. “In keeping with founding director Peter Rodriguez’s vision, The Mexican Museum has done an excellent job of preserving, documenting and exhibiting many of the cultural, artistic and historic contributions Latinos have made in our country. The Affiliation with The Mexican Museum will help the Smithsonian realize its goal of sharing its resources with people in their own communities.”


In addition to loans of notable artworks and artifacts, Smithsonian Affiliations will also assist The Mexican Museum in identifying appropriate resources within the Smithsonian to accompany exhibit loans, including: education and performing arts programs; expert speakers; teacher workshops; and technical assistance.  The Mexican Museum also has the opportunity to showcase its own vast collection of artworks through exhibitions and programs at the Smithsonian Ripley Center and International Gallery in Washington, D.C.  The Mexican Museum will also enjoy a broad range of additional Affiliate benefits including special opportunities offered by the Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Journeys, and Smithsonian Business Ventures.  La Tienda, the museum’s store, will now carry selected Smithsonian merchandise.


The announcement of the new Affiliation has fostered the following accolades from local, state and national dignitaries and businesses:


House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said, “The designation of The Mexican Museum as a Smithsonian Affiliate brings pride to our city and honors the diversity of our communities.  This collaborative partnership will allow San Franciscans to benefit from the Smithsonian’s unparalleled collections, ensures our museums reflect the rich tapestry that is American diversity, and recognizes the enormous contributions Mexican Americans have made to our nation.”


San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee said, “The Mexican Museum’s affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution – the world’s largest museum and research complex – will enable San Francisco residents and visitors to view and appreciate works of art that would be only be available to them if they travelled to Washington DC.  It is no surprise that several San Franciscan artists in The Mexican Museum’s wonderful collections are also in the Smithsonian’s collections.”


Supervisor David Campos stated: “The Mexican Museum in San Francisco is the first museum of its kind outside of Mexico to feature exhibitions and programs focused solely on Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano and Latino art and culture. Its unparalleled permanent collection of more than 14,000 objects – paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, prints, photographs, and mixed-media – spans more than 4,000 years of art history.  I salute both The Mexican Museum and the Smithsonian Institution on this momentous achievement.”


Mario P. Diaz and Nora E. Wagner, Board of TrusteesCo-Chairs, proudly added: “It was the foresight and vision of Dr. Jonathan Lorenzo Yorba, CEO of The Mexican Museum, to initiate this new partnership with the Smithsonian Institution. We are proud of his efforts to bring this national affiliation to The Mexican Museum in San Francisco.”


Dr. Jonathan Lorenzo Yorba, who is also the author of Arte Latino: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and has held a dual Fellowship appointment at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Museum of American History, stated: “We are honored by this important partnership with the world-renownedSmithsonian Institution.  Together, The Mexican Museum and the Smithsonian Affiliations will bring the Smithsonian, in all of its breadth and scope, to San Francisco and create lasting experiences that broaden perspectives on the arts, history, and world cultures.”


Carlos Félix Corona, Consul General of Mexico in San Francisco and an Honorary Board Member of The Mexican Museum, remarked:  “The Mexican Museum has always been a bridge to broaden international understanding through the arts, cultural and educational programs it has so successfully presented for over 36 years. The Smithsonian Institution, which is also international in scope, is the ideal partner to advance these humanistic efforts.”


Rich Hillis, Executive Director of Fort Mason Center where The Mexican Museum has been located since 1985 remarked, “As a result of this new national partnership, The Mexican Museum will be able to provide exciting programs for an even wider and more diverse audience.  That it is an Affiliate of our nation’s premier museum will surely draw more residents and visitors to Fort Mason Center.”


Sean Jeffries, Vice President and Principal of Millennium Partners – the developer that is partnering with The Mexican Museum, San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and the City to build the museum’s new building at Mission and Third Streets – noted that, “This important partnership will not only enhance The Mexican Museum’s exhibitions and programs, but also enable the museum  to increase the strong cultural and educational benefits that it will contribute to the Yerba Buena Cultural Arts District when it relocates to its new facility at 706 Mission Street.”


“The San Francisco Arts Commission is the City agency that champions the arts in San Francisco,” said Tom DeCaigny, Director of Cultural Affairs.  “We believe this new partnership between The Mexican Museum and the SmithsonianInstitution adds an important dimension to the creative cultural environment that is so essential to San Francisco’s well-being.”


Rounding out the comments surrounding this new national partnership, Darshan Singh, President of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Commission (SFRA), stated:  “On behalf of the Commissioners and staff of the SFRA, we are thrilled about the affiliation between The Mexican Museum and the Smithsonian Institution. It is a fitting tribute to the many people who have worked tirelessly over so many years to finally build a permanent home for the museum in the Yerba Buena arts district.”


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