ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The National Hispanic Cultural Center is looking to build upon its recent success after it was named the most visited state-run museum in New Mexico — drawing larger crowds than similar institutions in much larger cities.

The New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs recorded 226,793 visitors to the Albuquerque museum during the last fiscal year, which is up from 189,933 visitors the prior year, the Albuquerque Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2z7nslG ) last week.

The museum features art galleries, three theaters, a restaurant, an outdoor plaza for events, and components for education and genealogical research. When compared to similar institutions in New York City and Chicago, the museum’s attendance is higher.

Attendance at El Museo del Barrio in 2016 was about 200,000, according to the Museums Council of New York City. The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture and the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago reported 25,000 and 165,000 visitors in 2016, respectively.

With the Albuquerque museum attracting more attention, Executive Director Rebecca Avitia said they plan to utilize the momentum to reach new goals.

“Our goal is to collaborate with other museums,” Avitia said. “Our delay in collaborating wasn’t until our realization that we are a player on the national level.”

Part of that effort is already in progress. The museum’s visual arts program director is curating an exhibit by New Mexico artist Luis Tapia at the National Museum of Mexican Art. The exhibit is scheduled to open later this month.

“The museum is looking to our expertise for the curation of the exhibit,” Avitia said. “We’re really proud to be a full-fledged colleague on this level. We’re hoping to reach the next level.”

The museum is also looking to add stability by expanding its base of donors and shoring up its funding sources, Avitia said. Avitia credited the museum’s increased notoriety to her staff.

“Without exception, every employee here carries the equivalent of four positions,” she said. “We don’t have the luxury of a year to plan anything. It’s certainly been difficult, but we feel like we’ve arrived on the national scene.”


Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com