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"Becoming Dolores": A School/Museum Program to Engage Families through Art and Technology

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Cultures +5 Age Levels Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old), Adults

This collection details a photography and community engagement project that the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access did with educators from the National Portrait Gallery and the Fairfax County Family Literacy Program. It includes assets and resources designed to help teachers (art, English, social studies, and media technology), museum educators, and community-based informal learning educators recreate the program as is, or design their own, based on the specific needs of their classroom or learning community. 

For our project, pairs of native Spanish speaking immigrant moms and their middle school children did a five-day (15 hours total) training session at their school and at the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery. They learned about Dolores Huerta, portraiture, and photojournalism through the exhibition, "One Life: Dolores Huerta." Participants took portraits of themselves, critiqued each other's work, and created photo exhibitions about their communities and important issues, that were displayed at the Hispanic Heritage Month Family Day at the National Portrait Gallery.

Dolores Huerta, the "co-architect" of the American Farm Workers Movement and mother to eleven children, proved to be a huge inspiration to the participants. Before the workshop, 33 percent of the parents and none of the children saw themselves as able to make change in their community; after the workshop, 100 percent of parents and children reported seeing themselves as able to make change in their community. In addition, 100 percent of the mothers and 80 percent of the children reported that they believed they had increased their artistic skills.

#LatinoHAC, #EthnicStudies 

This collection supports Units 2 (What is the History - Civil Rights Movements) and 3 (Critical Geography and Current Issues) of the Austin ISD Ethnic Studies Part A course, and Unit 3 (Local History and Current Issues) of the Austin ISD Ethnic Studies Part B course. "What would you advocate for to beneficially change your community? How can you advocate to create change within your community?" "How do you understand the concept of community advocacy? What is needed for an individual to cultivate personal change?"

This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.