JACKSON HOLE, WYO –The National Museum of Wildlife Art is embarking on a new initiative to engage latino families in the community. “It’s a call for us to broaden our relevance to all of Teton Valley residents and to connect to humanity on a global scale,” said Lisa Simmons, the Assistant Curator of Education and Exhibits.
The initiative was made possible through grants from The Community Foundation of Jackson Hole and the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund. “We saw that latino’s weren’t coming to experience our collection, so this initiative was a major step in trying to change that,” said Simmons.
Part of the initiative involved reaching out to the Teton Literacy Center and partnering with their adult English classes to bring students and their families to the museum. The museum designed interactive programs for the adults while Teton Science Schools provided the transportation and activities for the children.
The adult sessions “prompted thoughtful responses to the artwork that often touched upon how certain landscapes or animals brought back memories from life in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras,” said Simmons. “Participants also often reflected on their amazement about the abundant wildlife of Wyoming and shared stories about seeing moose, elk, bears and other animals of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.”
In addition to collaborating with the Literacy Center, the museum has been working to make the museum itself more accessible to Spanish speakers. The museum is in the process of translating selected labels into Spanish, which will be offered as laminated sheets available in each gallery. The museum has also developed a Spanish language orientation video that plays at the museum entrance. “The video is a wholehearted welcome to the museum,” said Simmons.
Another part of the initiative is reminding families that the first Sunday of every month is free for locals. The free days often involve art making and other fun activities. Simmons sees this as an opportunity for all families, including those who primarily speak Spanish, to engage with the museum.
“We see art as a universal language,” said Simmons. “The art on our walls can cross cultural boundaries and create community and myriad personal and emotional connections.”
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