Smithsonian in National Latino Musuem controversy

Smithsonian, National MallThe Smithsonian Institution is considering building a National Museum of the American Latino in Washington, DC, but is facing controversy over the idea.

The museum is planned for the National Mall, shown here in this image courtesy Andrew Bossi, and would complete a set of museums that include the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The latter museum is due to open in 2015. While a museum to the contributions of Latinos to American history and culture makes sense, it’s meeting opposition in Congress over funding and the concept itself.

Jim Moran (D-VA) says he doesn’t want each minority group going to their own museum and skipping the others. This reasoning would hold water if the other museums hadn’t been established already, but it seems a bit late in the day to be bringing forth this argument now.

The current financial crisis is a more persuasive argument against a new museum. The National Museum of African American History and Culture sported a $500 million price tag. Half of that was paid for with Federal dollars, something that’s not going to go over well in the current Congress. There’s also talk of a national woman’s museum, but that’s likely to face the same hurdles as the Latino Museum.

Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States and have been here since well before the country was founded. Many modern states, such as Florida, Arizona, even Missouri, were Spanish colonies before they became U.S. states.

Do you think there should be a National Museum of the American Latino? Should it be paid for with tax dollars? Tell us what you think in the comments section!

Tips for taking photos of memorials on Memorial Day

Perhaps you’ve been one of the people jockeying for position to snap a photo of a memorial that other people are also trying to capture. Getting a photo that looks different than what the person standing next to you has taken can be a challenge. Plus, memorials are inanimate objects that might not look all that interesting in those vacation photos after all.

I came across these photo tips for taking photos of memorials from Rambling Traveler . Each are simple to follow and effective. The focus of her shots are memorials in Washington, D.C., but would work anywhere you happen to be.

One of the tips I particularly like is to take photos with people in them. Notice that these are natural shots. There are none of those types where family and friends are looking at the camera.

If you want shots of people reading quotes, don’t think it’s cheating to move someone reading a quote to get a better angle and tell them to stay still while you’re focusing. You’re creating a composition. Sometimes this is necessary to make sure a person isn’t hidden in a shadow, or that the quote is visible. Take more than one shot to make sure you get one that you like.

This photo by David Paul Ohmer on Flickr of the Vietnam War Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery the National Mall has the added detail of the wreath and the small flag. The white hat and the raised arm with the pen pointing at a name also add visual interest. If you look at the larger version, you’ll see reflections of other people. Well done!