Film and Theater


Film: Harvest of Empire | October 8, 2014

The National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Latino Center screened the award-winning 2012 feature-length documentary Harvest of Empire. Based on the book by journalist Juan González of Democracy Now!, the film features real-life stories and rare archival footage, as it examines the political events, social conditions, and U.S. government actions that led millions of Latino families to leave their homelands in an unprecedented wave of migration. The program included a panel discussion and audience Q&A. Panelists included the film’s co-director, Eduardo López, political science professor María De Los Angeles Torres (University of Illinois at Chicago) and curator Margaret Salazar-Porzio (National Museum of American History). 


Theater: La Buena Vida | September 2010

During Hispanic Heritage Month 2010, over 1,500 museum visitors were able to step into the radio broadcast studio of New Mexican Fabiola Cabeza de Baca in “La Buena Vida.” Ms. De Baca was a teacher, home economics specialist, and cultural broker who collected and authored many books and cookbooks about rural New Mexican life in the early 20th-century. The museum presented “La Buena Vida,” a short theater presentation based on the life and work of Cabeza de Baca, who was born in New Mexico in 1894. Visitors had a chance to discuss agriculture, home economics, and hear about the power of personal stories as they became part of the live studio audience at Cabeza de Baca’s 1930s and 1940s radio broadcasts.


Theater: David Farragut | Fall 2009

In fall 2009, the National Museum of American History partnered with the Theatre Program to present the life and story of David Farragut, the first U.S. Navy Admiral and a little known Hispanic hero, from September 18 to November 1.


Film: Walkout | June 15, 2006

The Museum presented the program, “A Case for Equal Education: Los Angeles High School Walkouts in 1968,” which featured award-winning producer Moctesuma Esparza and his recent film Walkout, based on the true story of the East Los Angeles high school walkouts. Esparza was one of the students who staged a walkout to protest the injustices of the public high school system in East Los Angeles. Following the two-hour film, Esparza discussed how he was inspired to produce it. A special guided tour of Separate is Not Equal: Brown v. Board of Education, was led by exhibition curator Harry Rubenstein before the film and discussion.