In 2013, FAM embarked on an effort to become a fully bilingual (English/Spanish) museum to better serve the region’s growing population of Latino and Latino immigrant families. The Bilingual Museum Initiative is an important part of FAM’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. This project is also a collaboration with the United Neighbors of Fitchburg (UNF), a non-profit that works with local immigrant communities to develop leaders and fight for social change through youth development programs, adult education, community organizing and direct services.
This Bilingual Museum Initiative stems from FAM’s goal to become one of this country’s best community museums. In Fitchburg, 39% of the current population is Latino (primarily from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Uruguay), and 55% of children enrolled in the Fitchburg Public Schools come from homes where Spanish is the primary language. This demographic is growing, and far exceeds both Massachusetts and national percentages for Latino population. The Fitchburg Art Museum intends to serve everyone in Fitchburg, and has embarked on the Bilingual Museum Initiative to provide cultural and educational enrichment to all.
The Bilingual Museum Initiative has to date achieved the following: bilingual interior and exterior signage, bilingual gallery texts and artwork labels in almost all of FAM’s 20,000 square feet of public exhibition space, bilingual free access on-line exhibition catalogues, a bilingual receptionist, the hiring of 4 bilingual professional museum staff, a Spanish language Facebook page, bilingual recorded telephone information, bilingual docents who give Spanish language exhibition tours, and a free admission programs for residents of Fitchburg’s Ward 4B. This Ward is FAM’s immediate neighborhood, with a population of 50%+ Latino families.
Discover Ancient Egypt is now available in Spanish!
With the launch of our new mobile site, the last of FAM’s galleries to become bilingual is officially accessible to Spanish language speakers. The site acts as a mobile app and is accessible through the visitor’s own device or through an iPad available at the front desk. On the site, visitors select the label they wish to read in Spanish by clicking the number associated with that label.
Latino Art, Exhibitions, and Programs at FAM
FAM’s Strategic Plan calls for collecting artworks by Latino artists in New England, and the museum also creates exhibitions and programs designed to reflect and/or appeal to local Latino families:
Nora Valdez: Baggage/Bagaje Solo exhibition of Argentine/American artist with bilingual artist talk
Nora Valdez, The Immigrant Permanent public artwork for Main Street, Fitchburg
Juan José Barboza-Gubo: Pink Narcissus Solo exhibition of Peruvian/American artist with bilingual artist talk
One Language is Never Enough: Latino Artists in Southern New England Group exhibition of 23 artists with bilingual artist talks, Spanish language docent tours, and bilingual exhibition catalogue
Mario Quiroz: Mis Vecinos, Portraits of Fitchburg’s Latino Communities Solo exhibition of Salvadoran/American artist with bilingual artist talk and exhibition catalogue
Spanish language Museum tour for Latino elders
Community Gallery exhibition of work by children from the United Neighbors of Fitchburg’s after-school programs
Linnette Vázquez-Polanco: Reflection of the Soul Solo exhibition of Puerto Rican artist with bilingual artist talks
Uruguayan Film Festival 6 films, in collaboration with the Uruguayan Consulate in New York
Mr. Reinford’s World: Paintings by Lionel Reinford Solo exhibition of Honduran/American artist with bilingual artist talks
Intergenerational Education Programs with United Neighbors of Fitchburg