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To showcase the beauty and richness of Mexican culture by sponsoring events and presenting exhibitions that exemplify the majestic variety of visual and performing arts in the Mexican culture; to develop, conserve and preserve a significant permanent collection of Mexican art; to encourage the professional development of Mexican artists; and, to offer arts-education programs.
In 1982, Carlos Tortolero organized a group of fellow educators and founded the Museum, which opened its doors in 1987. The goal was to establish an arts and cultural organization committed to accessibility, education and social justice. The museum also provided a positive influence for the local Mexican community, especially since many other art institutions did not address Mexican art.
Over the years, the institution has grown, its audience has broadened, and its reach now extends across the United States and beyond. Today, the National Museum of Mexican Art stands out as one of the most prominent first-voice institutions for Mexican art and culture in the United States. We are home to one of the country’s largest Mexican art collections, including more than 7,000 seminal pieces from ancient Mexico to the present.
As the only Latino museum accredited by American Alliance of Museums, we recognize our unique responsibility to present exhibitions of artistic and cultural value and to deliver high-quality education that demonstrates the breadth and depth of Mexican art, culture and history.
The National Museum of Mexican Art defines Mexican culture as sin fronteras (without borders), and our programs and exhibitions capture the wide range of Mexican cultural expressions and art forms, from ancient to modern and on both sides of the border. We represent the Mexican community from its own point of view and in its own voice.
We believe in art as a bridge between communities, and we believe that art in education expands minds and breaks down barriers while preserving cultural heritages. The National Musuem of Mexican Art offers a wide range of educational programs for children and families, teens, school groups, and educators. Our art exhibitions, performance arts and educational programs are experienced by more than 200,000 visitors annually, including 60,000 K-12 students.
The National Museum of Mexican Art is also a national leader and mentor for cultural institutions and community organizations, and for our advocacy of "first voice" and cultural equity issues. From building a world-class institution in Chicago’s largely Mexican American neighborhood of Pilsen to creating groundbreaking exhibitions and forming partnerships with institutions in Mexico, the National Museum of Mexican Art has a history of being bold and activist in our approach and reach.