Museum News

Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month

September 19th, 2023

In 1968, the Lyndon B. Johnson administration federally established Hispanic Heritage Week. On August 17, 1988, the Ronald Reagan administration expanded and enacted into law Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins on September 15 and ends on October 15.

The dates are significant as September 15 marks the anniversary of independence for many Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence holidays on September 16 and September 18, respectively.

The Museum celebrates Latinx Heritage Month to honor the histories, cultures, and contributions of the vast and diverse Latinx community and their ancestors from Central and South America, Spain, and the Caribbean. Throughout the next thirty days and further into November, we're hosting events and installations to amplify this rich history.

The current Rotunda installation was designed and brought to life by Curator of Exhibits Susan Hartzold and Director of Communications Micaela Harris. It features red, green, and yellow ribbons cascading through the Rotunda, coalescing around a star representing power, strength, and resiliency. The sun is a common motif spanning generations and beyond geographical bounds in many Latin American and Caribbean cultures.

For many of the diverse pre-Columbian societies, the sun held great cultural significance, specifically in spirituality and ritual. The evolution of the sun as a symbol within Latin America is a testament to the resiliency of communities in the face of colonization and the importance of cultural heritage.

To further explore the intricacies of Latinx identity and the politics of labels like Hispanic, Latino/a, and Latinx, check out our September 12 panel discussion with the ISU Department of Latin American and Latino/a Studies here. This panel discussion was the first of many events happening in the community to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month; click here to learn more.

Want to dive deeper? 


Check out the National Archives' curation of Latinx Heritage Month content here

Explore the National Endowment for the Humanities Teacher's Guide to Hispanic and Latino Heritage and History in the United States here

Micaela Harris

Director of Communications

Contact Micaela