Tag Archives: museums

Stories of El Salvador: The Civil War and Its Aftermath

Photo by Lyn McCraken

Photo by Lyn McCraken

Next April the Graduate Association of Latin American Studies (GALAS) at NYU will open an exhibition entitled Stories of El Salvador: The Civil War and Its Aftermath. Raúl Guzmán and Camilla Querin, two students of the joint degree Master’s program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Museum Studies will be curating the exhibition that will be exhibited at the Stovall Gallery in the Kimmel Center.

The exhibition is the result of collaboration between GALAS, CLACS, NACLA, Museum Studies, the Mujeres de la Guerra project and the Stovall Gallery. The photo exhibition will focus on the Civil War in El Salvador and the role of women during and after the conflict. The exhibition will present a historical view of the Salvadoran Civil War through portrait photos, videos and oral histories of women involved in the conflict.

The intention is to educate people about the Salvadoran Civil War, about the power of women, their resilience and their organizational abilities. The aim is to tell their inspiring stories and share their hope, wisdom and dedication with the world, to make people reflect upon different forms of activism and to reach not only an NYU audience, but also the Salvadoran community in NYC, people interested in activism, feminism, community organization, photography and resilience after armed conflicts.

Posted by Raúl Guzmán and Camilla Querin – MA Candidates at CLACS / Museum Studies

CLACS Alumni Profile: Franklin Moreno

Franklin MorenoCLACS Alum Franklin Moreno is the Schools Programs Manager at El Museo del Barrio, where he has worked since 2009.  El Museo del Barrio is a Latino cultural institution dedicated to promoting Latin American and Caribbean art and culture.

He was recently accepted to a PhD program in Human Development and Education at UC Berkeley, where he will be studying Cognition and Development with Elliot Turiel.

“I feel that museums offer so much, and have been creating spaces to approach education in a more flexible ways.  I’m trying to better understand the ways our minds develop to better understand trauma and education, and then connect that to museum practices,” he says.

At CLACS, Franklin’s research focused on museum studies and El Salvador. His thesis looked at El Museo de Arte de El Salvador (MARTE), where he explored the role of the museum in relation to post-war conflict and social and psychological trauma. He graduated from CLACS in January 2011.

He says his experiences at CLACShelped shape his career and future research.

“I am still working out a lot of ideas that came out of my time at CLACS, and  drawing on work by some of the authors I read,” he says.
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CLACS Alum at September 11th Tribute Center

Esther Mares - CLACS AlumEsther Mares is a CLACS graduate who is now a Collections Assistant at the Tribute World Trade Center Visitor Center.

Esther graduated in January 2012 with an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with a concentration in museum studies. She landed a job in her field before she even completed her last semester.

Esther came to NY from Las Vegas, New Mexico, and where studied archaeology and Spanish at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. She has also previously interned at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

At CLACS, her MA thesis investigated the Museum of the City of Las Vegas and its role in producing local culture and Hispanic narratives. While at CLACS she also interned at the Rubin Museum and the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY).
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CLACS Alum Christine Weible at El Museo del Barrio

Photo courtesy El Museo del Barrio - Artist: Nicolás García Uriburu

CLACS alum Christine Weible was recently awarded a one-year fellowship at El Museo del Barrio.   El Museo is a Latino cultural institution dedicated to promoting Latin American and Caribbean art and culture.

Christine will be working in the education department where she will develop curriculum, organize events, and design and lead gallery tours in both Spanish and English.

At CLACS, Christine’s research focused on ESMA, formerly known as the Escuela Superior de Mecánica de la Armada. During the Argentine Dirty War, ESMA was the largest detention center implicated in human rights crimes such as torture and disappearances.  This facility now functions as a museum of memory, officially the Espacio para la memoria y para la promoción y defensa de los Derechos Humanos. The “Museo para la memoria” came together as a collaboration between numerous human rights organizations, such as the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo. Christine was interested in the role of collective memory in this and other such facilities in Argentina.

Christine Weible

Christine has a long history of work and research in the field of Latin American art.  As an undergraduate student she completed a dual B.A. in Spanish and Art History. She has also had several internships in the field – notably with the Fundación Cisneros.

Posted by Von Diaz – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU

Overcoming a Dispute: Museo de Arte de Lima, MAC-Lima and Fernando de Szyszlo’s Exhibition

The promotion of the arts and, particularly, of modern and contemporary art has been in private hands. Historically, two private institutions, founded in the 1950s, have promoted Peruvian (“fine”) art: The Patronato de las Artes that leads the Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI), and the Instituto de Arte Contemporáneo (IAC). Many of their members belong to both Institutions and they comprise a large part of Lima’s elite group. The aims of these institutions were not in tension until the ends of 1990s, when controversies between members of both institutions regarding the management of contemporary art started.

Borea - Peru - MAC-Lima's bulletin - July 25th 2011

Opening of the first stage: Minister of Culture Juan Ossio, IAC's President George Gruenberg, President Alan Garcia, Minister of Production Mercedes Araoz, MAC-Lima's director Alvaro Roca-Rey

In 2001, the IAC initiated the construction of its long standing Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (now MAC-Lima). This project has been interrupted several times due to the struggles between the managerial group, and the neighborhood and local government. However, with the new political party in the district hall and the new impulse of contemporary art in the city, the museum’s construction has resumed and it seems that now the Museum will be finished (see image 1).

The specific interest of the Museo de Arte de Lima in the contemporary art, started in 2005, when young members of the Patronato de las Artes took the leadership. They have redirected the Museum’s attention to contemporary art. The following excerpts of interviews with Fernando de Szyszlo, the most prestigious Peruvian abstract artist, member of the IAC and ex-member of the Patronato de la Artes, and with Natalia Majluf, director of the Museo de Arte de Lima, give insight into this debate. Continue reading

Zapotec Women and Mexico City’s Museo Nacional de Antropologia

Huizar - Mexico - Museo de Antropologia

Entrance to Mexico City's National Museum of Anthropology

When I entered the “Oaxaca” area of Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology I was astounded by a large mural, painted in 1964 by Arturo Garcia Bustos.  Covering an entire wall, Garcia Bustos presents the viewer with a romantic portrayal of the market in Oaxaca’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec.  Filled with bustling activity, indigenous women (including Zapotec) dominate the scene. Whether consciously or not Garcia Bustos taps into a misleading myth of matriarchy that has arisen about this indigenous region in the last few decades. This myth has inspired documentaries, media stories, and academic articles, many which name Juchitan (the region’s largest city) a Matriarchy and a Queer Paradise.  This mural was not only exciting for its vast size and beauty, but for its relevance to my research interests that prompt me to better understand the visual representation of Zapotec women of the Isthmus (although I specifically focus on Oaxaca’s COCEI indigenous movement).

The Museo de Antropologia offers many displays on Zapotec indigenous culture, most of which emphasize in some way indigenous dress, particularly that of women.  I felt unsettled as I saw anaguas and rebozos (important elements of Zapotec indigenous dress) behind glass panes or in pristine, untouchable displays. If anything, my research has shown me how Zapotec, COCEI women used their dress as tools to challenge indigenous invisibility and to consolidate ethnic pride in the COCEI movement.  Whereas the museum focused on the “informative”, I longed to be back in Oaxaca where women politicize dress through the act of wearing.   I have to admit that in part I loved the museum for the way it forced me to continuously re-signify and decontextualize many of the “cultural objects” (like dress) that I am trying to understand.  For this reason the Museo de Antropologia and its library proved to be my most visited place in Mexico City. Almost every day I walked through its exhibits as I took breaks reading dissertations on Zapotec women and the COCEI.  I am especially thankful for the museum’s vast research materials and the friendly staff that helped me locate many wonderful sources.

Posted by Sofia Huizar — MA Candidate at CLACS at NYU

El Museo de Cacha…lets see what we’ve got!

Mural for Winter on outside of Museum

El Museo de Cacha is located in the center of Pucara Tambo, it is the first thing a visitor sees when entering the site after going through the huge puerto del sol, but may people bypass it because the door does not face the entrance to the site, instead is faces the ceremonial square on its other side. The building itself is interesting because it is a circle, which is supposed to represent the mountains that ring Riobamba and around the outside has four murals depicting the four seasons, that are my favorite pieces in the museum. Overall the museum depicts the traditional dress of the Cacha Indians, in two display cases and on two mannequins and shows pictures of the different festivals that are celebrated in Cacha each year. There are no text panels, so you have to have a guide take you through the displays, since it has been raining every day for the last two weeks, I have become very familiar with every piece in the museum, but I would say that the average visitor you likely be drawn to the traditional outfits and not much else.

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From talking to the  guides and other people who work at El Museo, along with my own observations I found out that the people of Cacha do not come to the museum and after seeing the contents it makes sense because the museum basically details the way that they currently live their lives. The traditional dress in the museum could have been taken off of any woman walking around the mountains, with varying colors. The only time I have seen the men wearing the entire traditional outfit was during the ceremony when I first arrived, but they do wear ponchos regularly, but have jeans on underneath instead of the all white. The photos that cover the walls detailing the festivals have been taken within the last four years and they take place down the road at the parroquia each year.

Basically what I am saying is that the only people who will currently find this museum interesting are tourists and members of the community who have been gone from the area for generations because the people who currently live in Cacha live what is in the museum. I am not trying to discount the museum, in fact with all the people from the community who are leaving, they have a 75% migration rate, this museum could become very important in the future, when more people come to visit, rather than live in the area.

Posted by Sarah Szabo — MA Candidate in CLACS/Museum Studies at NYU

Reinforcing the Cultural Sector in the Public Administration: Integration through Culture

Culture had not been an important axis in the Peruvian public administration, neither in the central government nor in the district halls. In the public administration, culture generally has been part of the touristic or educational sector. Only in 2010, it was created the Ministry of Culture. Previously the National Institute of Culture depended on the Ministry of Education. In this same direction, the current government of Susana Villaran is reinforcing the cultural area of Lima´s Municipality.

Borrea - Peru - Cultura Viva poster


On June 19th, Lima’s City Hall launched its program “Cultura Viva para la Nueva Lima”. In an interview with Victor Vich, consultant of Lima’s Municipality, he explained me the new perspective of the local government and this particular project. Vich points out two main problems. First, Lima’s cultural scenario is fragmented. One district hall does not know what the other does. Second, for long time culture has been reduced to a schedule of activities. Therefore, “Cultura Viva” is a program that looks to reinforce the local production; create cultural networks by promoting the circulation of cultural proposals to other districts; and locate the cultural production and consumption as a citizen right.  For this program, five districts have been selected and local promoters have worked together to discuss the project. The multiple proposals and activities take place for three Sundays in each district with a final big event (see poster at left).

Borrea - Peru - Encuentro Nacional de Cultura


Finally, it is possible that this new place of culture in the city is due to a reinforcement of the cultural managerial sector and the multiple seminars that are taking place to create and improve cultural policies. In this regard, an important event is the next coming “Encuentro Nacional de Cultura.”

Posted by Giuliana Borea – PhD Candidate in Anthropology at NYU

Who owns El Museo de Cacha?

Jorge and Mercedes Duchicela (and me)

I was lucky enough to meet the people who own my site…and it is not the community of Cacha, surprise! Well technically the Federación de Pueblo Cacha de la Nación Puruwa Cacha (FECAIPAC) own the land but the Duchicela Family has a 10 year lease on Pucara Tambo that started in 2007. Jorge Duchicela MD is a doctor who started the non-profit international medical program Cachamsi that offers medical students the opportunity to come to Riobamba and learn medical spanish and work in clinics in the surrounding area, his sister Mercedes also works for Cachamsi. Since 2007 they have put $100,000 into the renovation and updating of the Pucara Tambo site, which includes the museum. They were very pleased that I was interested in the museum and have given me free rein to do and write what I want about the museum and Pucara Tambo and also offered the resources of Cachamsi in Riobamba to me, which is where I am doing this post from right now.

Short side bar/history lesson: The History of the Duchicela Family as told me by Jorge Duchicela. The Duchicela Family has a long history in Cacha and have been the ruling family for centuries. The Inca Huayna Capac expanded his empire north and fought the King of Quito for 20 years or so and when he

Casa Duchicela

finally defeated him he was given a Cacha princess to be his wife (one of many), this princess was a Duchicela and the offspring from this union was Atahualpa who was the last Sapa Inca. He fought his half-brother Huáscar for the title after their father’s death and after his victory, on his way south to Cusco, he met Pizarro and the Spanish and the rest as we say is history. The oldest son of the Duchicela family is considered King of Cacha and he owns the “Casa Duchicela” which is located in the parroquia de Cacha south of Pucara Tambo and is the nicest house I have seen in Cacha. Their older brother was also the man who performed the Chicha Ceremony at the festival and I was told he does this every year.

So, the Duchicela Family obviously has strong ties to Cacha but none of them live here any longer, with most of them having moved to the States to go to college (Mercedes Duchicela actually went to my alma mater Lawrence University!) and now live in Texas.


They wanted to give back to Cacha but they refused to invest so much money in Pucara Tambo without having any control over the site and how it is used, which is why they got the lease from the FECAIPAC. I was told that in 2007 when they took over the site it was very much in disrepair and had all but been abandoned. Pucara Tambo was originally built by the FECAIPAC in the 90’s but with the leadership of the organization turning over every 2 years, the organization lost interest in the site, took away their funding and never completed the original plans for the site.

So how does all of this relate to my research, well what I thought was a community museum run by the FECAIPAC is actually owned by Cachamsi and the Duchicela Family. They fund the site with the profits from Cachamsi and funding they solicit from the Ecuadorian and US governments and have total control over what is presented in the museum and how the objects are interpreted. In the 3 weeks I have been here I haven’t seen a single person in the museum (other than during the festival), which is kept locked unless I ask for it to be unlocked. There could be many reasons for this, one of which is that there is no sign that says Museo, so if you didn’t already know nothing would indicate it is a museum at all. Just today I was actually asked to take a visitor who didn’t speak Spanish through the museum…so I guess I am the english speaking guide here in Pucara Tambo.

More on the museum next week!

Posted by Sarah Szabo — MA Candidate in CLACS/Museum Studies at NYU

Pucara Tambo

Sign on the road to Cacha

I took a taxi up to Cacha the day after the festival on the most beautiful road I have seen so far in Ecuador! It is newly laid and makes the twisting ride up the mountain much more enjoyable than it would be on a dirt road. The billboard to the left is placed along this road and is also new, with a fantastic picture of the Pucara Tambo site, which is where I am staying for the duration of my time in Cacha. I have taken this week to settle in and get to know the people who work at the site. There are two women and two men who are there every day and they cook my meals and answer all my questions.

Cabins in Pucara Tambo

I was pleasantly  surprised by the accommodations, they have five cabins, with two rooms each, that are a mix of single person rooms and rooms with bunk beds and each room has its own shower with hot water… ya! It gets pretty cold at night, but they have wonderful blankets that keep you nice and warm. Pucara Tambo is located up a mountain from Riobamba, so you get a fantastic view of the city and the other mountains surrounding the city, including Chimborazo, which is the tallest one in Ecuador. Continue reading