The Highline Historical Society’s ‘Latinos in Highline’ exhibit opened recently at SeaTac City Hall, located at 4800 S. 188th Street.
This exhibit is more than a simple re-telling of immigration stories in the Highline area. It is inspired by the families who showed the moral courage to establish themselves in Highline; the willingness to face not only physical danger but emotional pain, disapproval, financial insecurity, and uncertainty rather than compromise an ethical principle.
It takes courage and fortitude to be honest at the risk of community rejection or retaliation. It takes backbone to stand tough and provide a loving home for one’s children. This exhibit provides examples of people who have faced obstacles but continued to work at cultivating family values to contribute to their community. We have collaborated on this project with Para Los Niños, a Latino non-profit organization that provides language and resettlement skills for new immigrants in Highline.
Funding provided by Humanities WA , the City of SeaTac and Highline Historical Society. Exhibit design and production provided by Highline Historical Society Trustee Jeff Taylor and Curator of Collections Nancy Salguero McKay, with Lupita Ayon, Executive Director of Para Los Ninos.
Here’s more info from Nancy Salguero McKay, Curator of Collections and Exhibits at the Highline Historical Society, soon to be the Highline Heritage Museum. As the organization grows and changes, Nancy shares some insight into how she approaches her work, and into how she and her colleagues work to reflect and engage their communities:
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We tell the stories of the Highline region and its people! We create exhibits, public programming, and the opportunity to add artifacts to our community collections. We are creating a bridge from the earliest pioneer recollections to the newest immigrant stories. We are the Highline Historical Society, and soon the Highline Heritage Museum. The museum is presently under construction. We are planning to open to the public during the winter of 2016.
Our passion is for our visitors to have access to a broad spectrum of information sources and cultural perspectives. We want our stories to spark discussions and to share differences and similarities. We are creating a place where visitors can connect with the stories and with each other. We envision ourselves sitting at a round table where no one is the leader and stories are heard respectfully regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disabilities or ethnicity.
An example reflecting our mission is a newly installed exhibit at the City of SeaTac. The Latinos in Highline—Moral Courage exhibit is more than a re-telling of immigration experiences. It is inspired by families starting a new life in the Highline area who showed moral courage. Every immigrant is willing to face not only physical danger but emotional pain, disapproval, even financial insecurity! They have the courage and the moral values to be honest at the risk of community rejection or retaliation. This is about families passing these values to the next generation. This exhibit will be mounted at multiple locations around Highline.
We are providing a meeting ground for everyone to express his or her voice. We are inviting visitors to respond and add cultural artifacts and historical records to display. This exhibit is about bringing the immigrant voice to the round table.
For me, the Latinos in Highline exhibit is a personal matter. As an immigrant myself I know how it feels to face painful circumstances and to overcome obstacles. It is personal to bring to the table a woman’s voice in gender differences, or as a millennial to embrace intergenerational changes, or as a person with a hearing disability using hearing aids. History is a personal matter to everyone. We all have many voices we represent; we thrive in celebrating our uniqueness and in discovering our similarities.
Visit our new website.  We feel it reflects our community. We invite everyone to preserve their stories, to collect their treasures, to engage in discussions, to keep remembering, to discover new points of view, to be inspired by people, to explore our collections, to share their voices and to learn together. Our goal is to capture diverse stories. It is not just about bringing stories from a variety of different races; it is about celebrating a variety of life experiences free of bias and prejudice.