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Fronteras: The Mexican American Museum of Texas provides a space to share and celebrate the Mexican American experience

Mexican Americans have left a lasting mark in Texas history.

J.T. Canales pushed the state legislature to hold hearings in 1919 that examined Texas Ranger violence against people of Mexican origin.

Attorneys Gus Garcia and Carlos Cadena took a case to the U.S. Supreme Court that led to the inclusion of Latinos on juries.

Mexican and Texan culture has also become intertwined, with uniquely Tejano traditions ranging from charreadas (Mexican rodeos) to Tex-Mex cuisine.

Despite the impact Mexican Americans have made in Texas, there was no centralized location that highlighted the unique art, culture and history of Mexican Americans.

The Mexican American Museum of Texas (TMAMT) was founded by eight individuals in 2022 to fill that void.

Juanita Nañez, the museum’s vice-president and co-founder, says the idea behind the museum was to encompass all Mexican Americans in Texas.

“There (was) no history of Mexican American being collected and told from the Mexican American perspective,” she said. “History has been told in different ways, and we believe that our own perspective is key to the complete story of the history of Texas.”

Gus Hinojosa, TMAMT President and co-founder, said while the museum has not found a permanent home, he hopes the museum can share and celebrate the diverse Mexican American experience in Texas.

“A person who wants to get a good snapshot of the full story, not just the story that started in 1836, ... can come to one place and really get a fully, robust story of Mexican Americans and how they were and are foundational Texans,” he said.

The museum opened its inaugural exhibit at Dallas City Hall in December 2022 to celebrate the tradition of tamaladas.

The next exhibit will showcase the role of Tejanas at the Alamo. It’s expected to open in March at the Hall of State in Dallas.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1