National Museum of American History Showcases “View From Up North: Americans Experience Mexico, circa 1890-1945”

September 22, 2010
As part of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15- Oct. 15), the museum’s Archives Center is displaying two cases highlighting various artifacts from the late 1800’s to the mid 1900’s. Located on the museum’s first floor, the display specifically focuses on the experiences Americans had with Mexico during that time period.

The cases, which will be on view until Oct. 30, contain several examples from many different aspects of Mexican culture including dance, bullfighting, religion, traditional architecture and children’s toys. Visitors can view tickets from a bullfight and paper dolls that were inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor” policy, which sought out to improve relations with Mexico during World War II. Since many Americans learned about Mexico’s history and culture through published images, visitors can also see a number of photographs and postcards.

The display also showcases financial investments, economic opportunities and tourism in Mexico during the time. Visitors can get a sense of what business plans, brochures and tour guides looked like. It also touches on the Revolution of 1910-1920 with postcards and photographs depicting Mexican revolutionaries and “soldaderas,” a Spanish word used to refer to female soldiers.

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. To learn more about the museum, visit http://americanhistory.si.edu. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).