The Kansas City Museum is proud to announce that it is one of ten partner organizations in the United States to participate in “Latinos and Baseball: In the Barrios and the Big Leagues,” a multiyear collecting initiative launched by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The initiative will identify artifacts that reflect the social and cultural influence of the game on Latino communities. A press release from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History was issued in January. A press release from the Kansas City Museum was issued on July 12, 2016.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is seeking to document stories from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico and plans to collect a number of objects that could include baseball equipment, stadium signs and game memorabilia, as well as food vendor signs, home movies, period photographs, and more. Curators will select objects based on the stories they represent as well as insight into personal, community, and national narratives involving the national pastime. The goal of the Smithsonian’s collecting initiative is to work towards the development of a traveling exhibition centered on Latinos and baseball by 2020.
“Baseball has played a major role in everyday American life since the 1800s, providing a means of celebrating both national and ethnic identities and building communities,” John Gray, Director of the National Museum of American History, said. “Through the lens of baseball, the Smithsonian seeks to illuminate the rich history and culture of Latinos and their impact on American culture and society.”
“I am excited to be involved with the partnership of the Kansas City Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History to tell the story of Mexican Americans and other Latinos in baseball,” Dr. Gene T. Chávez, Curator for the Kansas City Museum, said. “Kansas City has long been a baseball town, and Latinos have had a tremendous role in the game. It is time to share their contributions with the nation.” Kansas City Museum Executive Director Anna Marie Tutera said, “With Kansas City’s World Series status and the new Urban Youth Academy in Parade Park under development thanks to the Kansas City Royals and the Kansas City Power & Light, the Kansas City Museum is proud to showcase Kansas City through this new partnership with the Smithsonian. Our 2015 exhibition, Mexican American Fast Pitch Softball Leagues: Connecting Communities Across State Lines, has inspired us to contribute local stories to a national narrative.”