1230 5th Avenue NY | Museo del Barrio

Rafael Ferrer Retro/Active at Museo del Barrio

El Museo del Barrio, often known simply as El Museo (the museum) is located at 104th Street & 5th Avenue in East Harlem (a neighborhood just north of the Upper East Side, and on the northernmost end of Museum Mile). Founded in 1969 during the height of America’s Civil Rights movement, El Museo specializes in Latin American and Caribbean art, with an emphasis on works from Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican community in New York City.

Unlike other museums in New York, which were founded by wealthy individuals and organizations, El Museo was actually set up by local residents (Puerto Rican parents, educators, artists, and community activists). Originally housed in a public school classroom, with relocations to various East Harlem storefronts, El Museo found its permanent home in the spacious, neoclassical Heckscher Building at 1230 5th Avenue.

El Museo features an extensive collection of pre-Columbian and traditional artifacts, particularly a large permanent Taíno exhibit, as well as 20th century arts and crafts, graphics and popular media, Mexican masks, textiles from Chile and photographs and traditional art from Puerto Rico. There are often temporary exhibits on Puerto Rican and Latino modern art. The museum also sponsors numerous festivals and educational programs throughout the year including the annual Three Kings Day parade. Due to a lack of space prior to their 2009-2010 expansion, the museum began to place some of their permanent collection online. This also served as a means of audience development.

1230 Quinta 5ta Avenida Nueva York Museo del Barrio

Seeking to increase their audience and reach new audiences, El Museo has partnered with a number of organizations for joint exhibits including Nueva York (New York Historical Society), and Caribbean Crossroads (Queens Museum of Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem).

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