EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO
1230 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
Maynicke & Franke
Artist and educator Raphael Montañez Ortiz and a coalition of Puerto Rican activists founded El Museo del Barrio in 1970 to combat the city’s institutional indifference to Puerto Rican art and
culture. Over the past five decades, El Museo has become a major institution celebrating and promoting Latin American art, with a permanent collection of over 6,500 objects spanning 800 years of history. El Museo also performs outreach and education for young people of Caribbean and Latin American descent to enhance their understanding of and pride in their heritage. El Museo’s permanent home since 1977 is a building commissioned by philanthropists August and Anna Heckscher for the headquarters of The Heckscher Foundation for Children, and donated to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children as a shelter for abused and neglected children. Its interior features a series of tile murals on the ground floor depicting storybook tales and children at play, which El Museo restored in 2008-12, as well as the Heckscher Theater, which hosted performances for and by children. El Museo undertook a renovation of the theater in 1995-2000, renaming it Teatro Heckscher.