My Visit To The "El Museo Del Barrio"

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During Hispanic heritage month, I went to visit El Museo del Barrio. El Museo del Barrio is an art exhibit displaying the history and urban of the Hispanic communities throughout the united states. Initially, I thought El Museo del Barrio was a museum of history with artifacts, but to my surprise it was an artistic museum reflecting the current economy and struggles of the Hispanic communities compared to the 1960s and 1970s. El Museo del Barrio is an important part of the Hispanic culture. It features journals, photos, third dimension’s art, paintings, and a movie. El Museo del Barrio is a small exhibit worth visiting.

Upon entering El Museo del Barrio, there’s an exquisite gift shop labeled “La Tienda” filled with a variety of ethnic novelties for purchase. There are books displayed by Liliana Porter, satchel bags with patterns of the Hispanic culture, t-shirts with symbols of the Hispanic community and simple water bottles with El Museo del Barrio imprinted on them. Then is The Café, they only served ethnic food are Starbucks. They offered quesadillas and imported beer. Upon entering the museum, the first piece of art displayed was a photo and journal. An artist requested to take photos of the current conditions to compare them to the past in the South Bronx.

One condition to allowing her to take the photo was to take a verbal account of how things drastically changed in the neighborhoods. The person she interviewed recollected memories of vibrant streets filled with children and the police having great relationship and trust within the community. He said in these times the people in our communities live in fear of their life and do not trust the police. He mesmerized on a street vendor that used to sell quarter pickles, but the community was being bought out and the pickle man couldn’t survive. The photo from back in the 1970s versus current day shows despair and a cry for help. The streets that aren’t developed looked abandoned, while nearby streets were fully developed.

The next photo that caught my eye was taken in California in the 1970s. The photo consisted of men and women wore crop tops, high waisted denims, oversized denim jackets and stripes. I found this unique because it relates to the fashion worn today. It is amazing how looks from the 1970s are popular today in 2018. The statement History repeating itself is in full effect. The next photo that caught my attention was in Brownsville, Brooklyn. In the photo, the community looked ruined and dead with Graffiti and other forms of damage. In the artists synopsis, he didn’t mention the run-down buildings, or grass full of weeds, or do not enter sign on a two-way street. The artist enlightened the ruins and presented it as art to show the Hispanic community still striving despite the poverty.

El Museo del Barrio is an extremely important part of the Hispanic culture and history. It shows the history of where they are coming from and their current situation. This museum is a perfect replica of what is going on in the communities. This museum displays the gentrifications going on within the Hispanic communities today. When I heard of gentrification, I did not understand the full concept of it. El Museo del Barrio helped me understand what it means. Gentrification in the South Bronx and Brooklyn goes deeper than homes being lost due to affordability.

Gentrification strips the Hispanic culture of their communities and memories. They used to depend on the pickle man and the bodegas but now they are being uprooted and separated. They have trust issues among themselves due to gangs and violence and they do not trust police. Somewhere along their history, policeman was classified in the negative light and the generations after are raised not to trust. If this continues the only Hispanic heritage we will have in New York City is the museum that shows it all. El Museo del Barrio.

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