Barreras del Rio, Petra. "Image in the collective memory." In Voces y visiones : Highlights from El Museo del Barrios permanent collection : El Museo del Barrio 1969-2004, 22- 31. New York, NY: El Museo del Barrio, 2003.
The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this essay, Petra Barreras del Río relates her experience as curator and interim director of El Museo del Barrio throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. She describes the process of building up the financial and administrative resources of the museum during an era of waning government support for the arts (NEA). Also discussed are landmark exhibitions executed during her tenure such as: Puerto Rican Painting Between Past and Present, and retrospectives of Rafael Ortiz and Pepón Osorio. Barreras concludes that El Museo del Barrio’s significance lies in establishing new paradigms of museum practice that embrace inclusiveness and honor the Latino immigrant experience in the United States.
Founded in 1969, El Museo del Barrio was the first Puerto Rican museum established in New York. City. In the 1990s, El Museo’s goal was revised as follows: “The mission of El Museo del Barrio is to present and preserve the art and culture of Puerto Ricans and all Latin Americans in the United States.” Petra Barreras served as curator of El Museo from 1977 to 1978 and, later on, as director from 1986 to 1993. Her essay, “Image in the Collective Memory,” was written in celebration of El Museo’s thirty-fifth anniversary.