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Visual Art

New Museum Exhibit Resonates With Houston’s Hispanic Population

The Houston Museum of Natural Science merges anthropology and religion in La Virgen de Guadalupe

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  • La Virgen de Guadalupe, on display through September 5, 2016 (Photo Credit: Houston Museum of Natural Science)
    La Virgen de Guadalupe, on display through September 5, 2016 (Photo Credit: Houston Museum of Natural Science)
  • La Virgen de Guadalupe, on display through September 5, 2016 (Photo Credit: Houston Museum of Natural Science)
    La Virgen de Guadalupe, on display through September 5, 2016 (Photo Credit: Houston Museum of Natural Science)
  • La Virgen de Guadalupe, on display through September 5, 2016 (Photo Credit: Houston Museum of Natural Science)
    La Virgen de Guadalupe, on display through September 5, 2016 (Photo Credit: Houston Museum of Natural Science)
  • La Virgen de Guadalupe, on display through September 5, 2016 (Photo Credit: Houston Museum of Natural Science)
    La Virgen de Guadalupe, on display through September 5, 2016 (Photo Credit: Houston Museum of Natural Science)
  • La Virgen de Guadalupe, on display through September 5, 2016 (Photo Credit: Houston Museum of Natural Science)
    La Virgen de Guadalupe, on display through September 5, 2016 (Photo Credit: Houston Museum of Natural Science)

For people like Julia Ortega, the Houston Museum of Natural Science's exhibition, La Virgen de Guadalupe resonates with her on a personal level.

"It's inspiring, it's emotional, it's uplifting," she says. "It's just wonderful."

The religious symbolism has been a part of Ortega's life for as long as she can remember. She's a prime example of the audience the museum hopes to attract.

"Houston is a very unique city in the sense that 40 percent of the population of the city is Hispanic. And most of that population is of Mexican origin," says Manuel Delgado, CEO of Agua, the marketing agency working with the museum to bring in more Latinos.

Curator Dr. Dirk Van Tuerenhout is expecting the exhibit to draw visitors from far beyond Houston.

"There are people coming in from as far away as the valley and I have people coming in from Killeen," he says. "But I know that there will be people coming in from farther away as the word gets out."

But the museum's CFO Stephen Sachnik explains that the exhibition is also about showing that natural science can encompass more than the public may realize.

"So many of them think that we're rocks and dinosaurs," Sachnik says. "But we're really about cultural anthropology, which is what this exhibition is about."

Some of the exhibition's highlights include an original Aztec-language manuscript from the 16th century and an authorized reproduction of the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. It's on display through September 5th, 2016.

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