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La Casita, Smithsonian Team up for ‘Latinos and Baseball’ Initiative
La Casita Cultural Center, a program of the College of Arts and Sciences, has been selected to participate in “Latinos and Baseball: In the Barrios and the Big Leagues,” a national community collecting initiative at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Latino Center.
“Latinos and Baseball” traces the role baseball has played, socially and culturally, in Latino communities across the nation. The new multiyear project builds on a growing body of original research, oral histories, and collections by and with Smithsonian partners that documents the impact of Latino communities on American history and culture.
“La Casita is honored to represent Syracuse University and the Central and Upstate New York communities in this nationwide project,” says Tere Paniagua ’82, executive director of Arts and Sciences’ Office of Cultural Engagement for the Hispanic Community. “Baseball is an important lens through which to look at ethnic identities and reflect on the lives and histories of our communities. Since only a handful of repositories throughout New York State collect Latino materials as a matter of policy, we are excited to collaborate with the Smithsonian in the development of a major cultural heritage research project. It’s an exciting opportunity for our students and faculty alike.”
Among them are internships in Syracuse and Washington, D.C., she adds.
Margaret Salazar-Porzio, curator in the museum’s Division of Home and Community Life, is overseeing the initiative. “Tracing histories of people, places and objects that reflect the complex interplay of racial identities and sports across the nation allows us to tell diverse and unexpected stories within our communities,” she says. “Our community partners, such as La Casita, are vital to this process.”
In addition to enriching the Smithsonian’s local and national collections, “Latinos and Baseball” will be the subject of various programs across the country, culminating in a traveling exhibition that will be in development by 2020.