Graduate student spends summer at the Smithsonian Institute

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Originally from Naranjito, Puerto Rico, Theatre and Dance Graduate Student Verónica Rivera-Negrón is spending her summer at a fellowship at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Rivera-Negrón is working on the project “Commemorating the Centennial of the Jones Act: Research and Programming,” under the Latino Museum Studies Program. The Jones Act is the legal document that declared Puerto Ricans United States Citizens in 1917.

“Our relationship to the United States has been and still is very complicated and inevitably affects Puerto Rico’s economy, politics, society, and culture. The commemoration of the Jones Act will happen in light of a financial crisis in the island and one of the biggest exodus of Puerto Ricans to the United States. The question I will be asking myself throughout the program is how to critically engage a museum audience with this Act, one hundred years after it was established,” stated Rivera-Negrón, who has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Theatre from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras.

As a fellow, Rivera-Negrón will be researching materials at the Smithsonian and developing programs for the commemoration of the Act. She is particularly interested in organizing a conference and creating educational materials that teachers can use in their classrooms to engage with this Act.

After completing her Master of Fine Arts in the Performance as Public Practice program in the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas at Austin, Rivera-Negrón envisions a career as an arts administrator and educator.

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 138 million, including more than 127 million specimens and artifacts at the National Museum of Natural History.