News & Politics

The Smithsonian Museum of the American Latino Has Named Its First Director

Jorge Zamanillo will helm the future museum, starting in May.

Jorge Zamanillo. Photo by Rodrigo Nuno.

The upcoming National Museum of the American Latino has found its inaugural director. The Smithsonian has named Jorge Zamanillo to the post. He will begin in his new role May 2.

Zamanillo is currently the executive director and CEO of the HistoryMiami Museum. He started out as a museum curator before moving up in the ranks as senior curator, deputy director, and vice president of expansion projects. Under his leadership, the museum underwent several expansion and renovation projects, including the addition of four new galleries and a building.

The Museum of the American Latino is one of two museums coming to DC after Congress passed legislation in December 2020 establishing their existence. It will illuminate Latino contributions to art, history, and culture. A search for its future site, on or near the National Mall, is underway.

“The Latino experience is American history, and I want to make sure our story will be preserved for future generations,” said Zamanillo in a press release. “This museum will celebrate Latino accomplishments and resiliency through powerful stories that capture the adversity faced over centuries by Latinos in the U.S. and their perseverance to move forward and create a legacy.”

David Tran
Editorial Fellow