Hoping to inspire, Dolores Huerta’s exhibit now open at the California Museum

By María G. Ortiz-Briones

March 22, 2019 01:24 PMDolores Huerta with a bullhorn, 1965 Jon Lewis, Dolores Huerta with a bullhorn, 1965 © Yale University. All rights reserved.

Dolores Huerta is a legendary Latina activist who has tirelessly let the fight for racial and labor justice as a union leader and activist for the rights of farmworkers and women.

Many in the Central Valley know her ground-breaking role in the state’s farmworkers’ movement as the co-founder of the United Farm Workers Association. 

Huerta, who will be turning 89 years old on April 10, is one of the most influential labor activist of the 20th century and now many people, young and old, will have the opportunity to get to know her more intimately thanks to the Smithsonian Institution.

The new traveling exhibition “Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields/Revolución en los Campos” organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) opened to the public on March 9, at the California Museum which launch a five-year national tour.

“It’s an honor to be recognized in this exhibit,” said Huerta in an statement. “It’s incredibly important that the contributions that women and people of color have made to our nation’s history be brought to the attention of the mainstream.”

The bilingual exhibit, which was inspired by “One Life: Dolores Huerta” at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery, explores the life and legacy of Huerta through reproductions of historic photographs, a documentary video and a smartphone audio tour app. 

The exhibit, which features supplemental artifacts on loan from Huerta’s personal collection and other institutions, will be on display through July 7 at the California Museum illustrating her achievements over more than six decades and the history of the farmworkers’ movement in the Golden State in the 1960s and 1970s. 

“Much of my work included lobbying at the State Capitol to pass legislation that supported civil rights for farm workers and Latinos, so it’s fitting for it to debut at the California Museum in Sacramento,” said Huerta of the first stop of the exhibit’s national tour. “I’m grateful that people across the country will be able to see it now that it has become a traveling exhibition.”

California Museum Executive Director Amanda Meeker said they were thrilled to be the first venue to host the traveling exhibit. 

“This new exhibit is an excellent fit with our programming showcasing the state’s history and culture of diversity,” said Meeker. “It will provide visitors with new insights on Dolores as a ground-breaking feminist, social justice activist and labor leader, and on many of her extraordinary achievements that have frequently been overlooked or misattributed to others.” 

Highlights from her personal collection includes dozens of rarely-seen items such as a circa 1970s hand-knit sweater with the United Farm Workers’ logo, her Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded in 2012 by President Barack Obama. 

“Art is an incredible vehicle for transmitting culture and moving people to action,” Huerta said. “I hope that this exhibit, and the featured historical artifacts, inspire many, including Californians, to get involved in creating a better future for all through activism and community organizing and teaches children the value of labor unions and the importance of workers’ rights.” 

María G. Ortiz-Briones: 559-441-6782@TuValleTuSalud

“Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields/Revolución en los Campos” organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)

California Museum, 1020 O St (corner of 10th and O Streets), Sacramento

Open to the public

On display through July 7, 20191 of 2Dolores Huerta addressing an audience after the Delano grape march, State Capitol, Sacramento, Calif., 1966.John Kouns, 1966.Courtesy of the Tom & Ethel Bradley Center at California State University, Northridge

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