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Founded in 1969 by parents, activists, and artists seeking to implement cultural enrichment programs for the Puerto Rican community, El Museo del Barrio is the first museum in the United States dedicated to the collection and preservation of Puerto Rican, Latino and Latin American art and culture.  Artist and educator, Rafael Montañez Ortiz, served as El Museo del Barrio’s founding director and  housed the museum in various public school buildings in West and East Harlem.  In 1972 El Museo Del Barrio’s 2nd Director, Marta Moreno Vega, institutionalized  the museum by rehabbing a brownstone on 116th street into a multi-storied exhibition space.  In 1973, Vega moved El Museo del Barrio into a series of storefronts on 3rd Avenue and 106th street  ; in 1977  the museum  relocated to its present home at  1230 5th Avenue.  El Museo del Barrio’s impressive collections include  rare Taino Pre-Columbian artifacts , festival masks from the Caribbean and Latin America, modern and contemporary art.  In addition to exhibitions,  El Museo del Barrio,  offers  bilingual arts education programs, holds Day of Dead and Three Kings Day celebrations, and organizes a biennale showcasing emerging Latino artists.

 

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