Exploring El Museo Latino In Omaha

Omaha is home to one of only a dozen Latino museums in the United States. El Museo Latino is located in the heart of South Omaha, just a block off lively 24th Street (seriously, love the streetscape there). It’s an art museum, history museum and a cultural center all rolled into one.

It’s been at its current location since 1997, a fairly nondescript former school building.

Here we go, about to go into El Museo Latino for the first time.
Here we go, about to go into El Museo Latino for the first time.

I’d never visited, despite having an interest in Latin American culture having studied in Costa Rica for a semester and Mexico for a month.

There was a mixture of uncertainty of what I’d find there and laziness. It’s been on my list to check out for years.

My family and I visited the museum recently, taking advantage Museum Live Day, where we’d get two adult admitted for free (kids 5 and younger are free).

What to expect at Museo Latino

The museum has a very small but interesting permanent collection that includes indigenous and contemporary works, such as pottery and sculpture, textiles, ceramics, and photography. Impressively, some well-kept pieces date back to pre-Columbian time.

The entrance is a bit tight. To the left of the entrance is a hallway where on both sides of a you can look at cases of containing ceramics, silver and copper pieces, and the cool pre-Columbian stuff.

We brought young children to this museum, so I bet you’re wondering what kids think of it.

My kids actually lingered here. It helps to have them find the animals in the work, and point out the ancient whistles.

The significance of age or where the pieces came from are lost on kids this young, but oh well. I think they glean some important things from a visit to a museum like this.

The bulk of the items on display are in a large, colorful hall just past this hallway.

My youngest checks out the exhibition hall at El Museo Latino in Omaha.
My youngest checks out the exhibition hall at El Museo Latino in Omaha.

Here you’ll find some interesting photography with portions of interviews from individuals living in South O, describing how they got here.

You’ll also find temporary exhibits here. More on that in a second.

To the right of the entrance, you’ll find a small but cute gift shop. Further along, you’ll find a dance hall. There was a temporary exhibit in the hall featuring portraits by Miguel Angel Casco Arroyo.

Those didn’t interest the kids, but the dance lesson did. Dance and music lessons are held here. We watched young girls learn a traditional Mexican folk dance (or at least it seemed Mexican – I took once class in Mexican folk dance so I’m clearly an expert).

My kids were captivated by the swirling skirts and stomping heels.

Temporary exhibits at Museo Latino

The museum presents temporary exhibits each year. You can check this blog’s calendar of events to see if there’s a listing for the current exhibition. I update it regularly.

From time to time, the museum has unique performances that I include in the blog’s calendar. In the past, those have included dances and Las Posadas, a Mexican Christmas tradition.

Should you bring kids?

Certainly. It’s a small museum, so you there won’t be any dragging kids around for hours (or what seems like hours). There is no interactive exhibits, though, if that’s something you know your kids love.

A visit here is a good glimpse into a culture and history you might not be familiar with, which is always a good thing.

If you go

El Museo Latino

Where: 4701 S. 25 St.

When: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1 to 5 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed Sundays and major holidays.

Cost: $5, adults; $4 college students with ID; $3.50 students K-12 and seniors; FREE, members and children 5 and younger.

Your turn: Have you visited El Museo Latino? What did you think of the museum?

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