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New center to celebrate and educate people about Latin America

New center to celebrate and educate people about Latin America
New center to celebrate and educate people about Latin America 03:28

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There are a few places reserved for celebrating and educating people about Latin America.

There is now a new center in Pittsburgh dedicated to doing just that.

"This particular initiative is important because it's an outreach to the community to show the community what Latin America is about," said Milagros Pereyra, executive director of the Latin American Studies Association.

While about a fraction of the size of most museums, there is still an impressive amount of things to see and do at the Latin American Cultural Center in Oakland.

"Most people when they go to a museum, they have about two hours to spend," Latin American Studies Association Senior Advisor Billie DeWalt said. "And after that, they want to go home. We have more than a two-hour experience here."

Built in 1912, the building used to be home to the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. The Latin American Studies Association then acquired the space in 2019. With the exception of a few small tweaks, the center is just about ready to open to the public.

When you walk through the door, the first-floor exhibit begins on a timeline, taking visitors on a trip through time. This is all while providing an interactive learning experience on touch screens programmed with a variety of information about Latin America.

"We're able to show a lot of images of the geography of Latin America," DeWalt said. "We're able to give people a lot of information about the most important archeological sites in Latin America."

There is also an array of Latin American art pieces, art history and musical instruments from collectors all over the world.

"What you see here are a few things that we were able to borrow from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History," DeWalt said. "There are a number of things from my own and my wife's collection that we have collected over the years in Latin America."

The space also features an art exhibit on Maya spirituality and an auditorium suited for film screenings and musical performances. Those involved with the center are looking forward to people immersing themselves in the history, culture and contributions of Latin America.

"Hopefully, we will be able to disabuse people of some of those misconceptions. Hopefully, we will be able to inform them about some contemporary events that are happening right now," DeWalt said. 

"Latin America is a very rich and diverse culture not very well known, and I think this is a great opportunity to showcase this not only to Pittsburgh but to the world," Pereyra said.

The center will be open Tuesdays through Thursdays starting Sept. 20. Tickets can be booked online in advance.

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