Online Collections and Exhibitions

PLHC endeavors to represent Latino communities and their stories throughout the National Museum of American History’s many collections and exhibitions. The projects listed on this page place specific emphasis on Latino history and are available in full online.

Clotilde Arias photoNot Lost in Translation: The Life of Clotilde Arias
This exhibition is about Clotilde Arias, a Peruvian immigrant who came to New York City in 1923 at age twenty-two to study music. Decades later she translated the national anthem into the official Spanish version at the request of the U.S. government. Arias lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and the development of the advertising industry, not only as a witness but as a full participant and agent of change.
Photo of Bracero program workerBittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program 1942-1964
Between 1942 and 1964, an estimated two million Mexican men came to the United States on short-term labor contracts. A little-known chapter of American and Mexican history, the bracero program touched the lives of countless men, women, families, and communities. Both bitter and sweet, the bracero experience tells a story of exploitation but also of opportunity.
Photo of Three Kings figurinesA Vision of Puerto Rico: The Teodoro Vidal Collection
This Web site is based on "A Collector's Vision of Puerto Rico," an exhibition that was on view at the National Museum of American History in the 1990s. The purpose of that exhibition, and this Web site, is to look at the history of Puerto Rico through the eyes of a collector who captured the island's history from the 16th to the 20th centuries with the thousands of wonderful objects that he collected.
Photo of Mexican woman's ID cardAmerica on the Move: Latino Stories
The United States has often been called a nation of immigrants and most families have stories about immigration and migration in their immediate or distant past. But the origins of immigrants to the United States and their experiences vary considerably. But the experiences of Latinos today, as in earlier times, are often different. In this section, explore Latino stories and see some of the complexities of immigration.
Celia Cruz album cover¡Azúcar! The Life and Music of Celia Cruz
Celia Cruz was an enormous talent who had an impeccable sense of rhythm and inimitable style. She became an influential and legendary musical figure in her native country, her adopted country, and around the world. Listen to examples of her music at different periods of her career and view photos and costumes from throughout her lifetime.
Photo of  black woman's shoesHispanic Designers Collection
The Costume Collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Behring Center contains over 30,000 garments and accessories representing the changing appearance of Americans from the 17th century to the present. The collection illustrates many of the social, cultural, technological, and economic influences affecting dress made or worn in America. Designer-label clothes created by Hispanic designers are well represented in the collection.
Crests and founding dates for Jamestown, Quebec, and Santa FeJamestown, Quebec, Santa Fe: Three North American Beginnings
This exhibition explores the international origins of the societies of Canada and the U.S. and commemorates the 400th anniversary of three lasting settlements in Jamestown (1607), Québec (1608), and Santa Fe (1609). The exhibition takes a multicultural approach to the virtually simultaneous introduction of English, French, and Spanish culture to this vast area and tells the stories of Native and European societies through 1700. 
Photo of Mexican performance dressMexican America
"Mexican America" is a sampling of objects from the collections of the National Museum of American History. The stories behind these objects reflect the history of the Mexican presence in the United States. They illustrate a fundamentally American story about the centuries-old encounter between distinct (yet sometimes overlapping) communities that have coexisted but also clashed over land, culture, and livelihood.