Google’s Latinx Culture Archive Is The Best New Thing On The Internet


September is when all things fall and Halloween-themed roll around, but Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 is also marks Hispanic Heritage Month. The month-long celebration of Latinx culture began in America in 1968, and is celebrated starting the 15th because it's the anniversary of independence for many Latin American countries. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Google launched a massive digital archive of Latinx art and culture. Titled “Google Arts and Culture: Latino Cultures in the U.S.,” the site highlights the contributions Latinx people have made to art and culture. Google partnered with over 50 organizations to develop the treasure trove of Latinx art history, which includes a comprehensive look at Latinx visual art, film, cooking, and more. The project also features many modern day influential Latinx people.

Jesús García, Head of Hispanic Communications for both Google and YouTube, told Forbes, "The Google Arts and Culture: Latino Cultures in the U.S. collection is a labor of love for many Googlers and partner institutions. It was a project that was more than a year in the making and took an small army to help digitize the 2,500 new artworks and curate 69 new exhibits.” The Google project is an interactive experience, allowing users to tour Latinx museums through maps, watch videos, read exclusive editorials, and more.

At the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, some Latinx activists expressed concern over some problematic aspects of the month — the word “Hispanic” being one of them — but Google’s new collection seems to strive for inclusion of all Latinx identities and experiences. I rounded up some of the coolest online exhibits from Google’s Hispanic Heritage Month project, but you can check out the full collection and explore for yourself.

Explore El Museo Frida Kahlo (The Frida Kahlo Museum)

If you're broke AF like me, you'll probably appreciate the project's feature that allows you to explore museums focusing on Latinx artists across the United States, Central America, and Latin America. The feature is much like Google Maps, but also offers users tidbits of historical context related to the museum's curated items. I'm a lifelong admirer of Frida Kahlo and her artwork, so Museo Frida Kahlo, physically located in Ciudad de México, Mexico, was my favorite museum I virtually toured.

An Interview With Gina Rodriguez

Gina Rodriguez, an actress known for her starring role in Jane The Virgin, has also become a well-known advocate for feminist and Latinx issues. "Latino Cultures in the U.S." includes an in-depth interview with Rodriguez about Latinx media representation, activism, equality, and her experiences as a Latina woman. The feature is a must-read.

Videos About Latinx History

For "Latino Cultures in the U.S.," Google collected 232 videos that cover a huge range of topics related to Latinx culture. Some of the videos included feature past Hispanic Heritage Awards ceremonies, Day of the Dead traditions, and the history of famous Latinx creatives like Oscar de la Renta. This is a great section to begin in if you are unfamiliar with Latinx heritage.

A Historical Look At Queer Latinx Culture In L.A.

Google partnered with UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center to curate the online exhibit "Jotería," which is a word used to describe and empower LGBTQ+ Latinx communities. Jotería documents queer Chicanx/Latinx artists, activists, and organizations who, throughout history, left their mark on Los Angeles' LGBTQ community. This feature is exceptionally important because queer Latinx history and culture has often been erased.

Visit Little Havana From Your Laptop

Calle Ocho (aka Little Havana), Florida, is in the heart of Miami, and the center of Cuban culture. The palm tree-lined town boasts colorful music, salsa music, and delish food. "Latino Cultures in the U.S." allows you to explore Little Havana and 8 other famous Latinx neighborhoods.

Javier Cabral On Traditional Mexican Cuisine

It is impossible not to become a little hungry when you read Javier Cabral's "Fast Food, Tortillas, and the Art of Accepting Yourself." Cabral's article about rediscovering his Mexican culture through food is a valuable read, especially for American-Latinx people who may have trouble connecting with their heritage. But also, the pictures of traditional Mexican meals are to die for.

The Dream 9 Exhibit

The Dream 9 exhibit is all too relevant with the current dialogue surrounding DACA and immigration. It explores the historical moment in immigration rights, when 9 undocumented activists dressed in graduation gowns stood at the Mexico-U.S. border in 2013, and demanded to be granted asylum by border officials. Google uses resources such as photos, writing, and audio commentary from Maria Hinojosa and media group Latino USA to create an in-depth picture for users.

Google's "Latino Cultures in the U.S." collection is so extensive, and gives folks a whole new way to learn about Hispanic Heritage Month. Make sure to visit the online archive and explore its exhibits — you might be surprised to find a new favorite.