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About Us

At Boyle Heights History Museum, we aspire to be more than simply a collection of unique objects. We are devoted to creating a living, interactive learning experience through events and exhibitions. Our carefully curated private collection attempts to impart our knowledge and ideas and instills excitement and imagination in our visitors. We offer discounts for our members, as well as for children and senior citizens. We hope you’ll come to visit us soon — we promise you’ll learn something new.

Our Partnership 

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Josefina López

Josefina López, Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater believes that a museum about Boyle Heights is important and necessary because young people in this community have very little knowledge of the rich immigrant history of this community because it had always been portrayed as a ghetto by the mainstream media. 

 

She believes that the Boyle Heights Museum housed at CASA 0101 Theater would be a powerful partnership because theater can make history come alive. Theatergoers will discover Boyle Heights history and history buffs will discover the magic of theater. It’s a winning combination. 

 

She has faith that the Boyle Heights Museum will also serve as an affirmation of the contribution Mexican-Americans have made to this country.

 

She wants young people in our community to have pride in where they live and wants new residents of Boyle Heights to have a powerful context so they appreciate the culture and history of this community

Dr. George J. Sanchez

Dr. George J. Sanchez, USC Professor of History and American Studies believes that the history of Boyle Heights has long been recognized as one of the most important in defining a new American reality of life in a diverse, working-class community in the United States. 

 

He believes that the Boyle Heights Museum will bring this rich history to life for people living in the community, as well as a broader audience of Angelinos interested in how people fought to have immigrants and people of all backgrounds living together. 

 

It will also show that groups and individuals from Boyle Heights have learned to fight for their rights amidst often hostile surroundings and forces 

wanting to tear the community apart. 

 

He is delighted to have the opportunity to bring the stories of the past to current residents through this exciting partnership with CASA 0101 Theater.

Our Goal

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Mission Statement

The Mission of the Boyle Heights Museum is to preserve and celebrate the rich and important immigrant histories of the Boyle Height community so that all residents, including young people, will be inspired to join us in preserving this history for future generations.

Vision Statement

People in the U.S. recognize the importance of this community to U.S. History, acknowledging the role that immigrants play in transforming Los Angeles into a model city of diversity, and celebrating Boyle Heights as the Ellis Island of the west coast.

Our Team

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Jorge Leal

Co-Curator and Museum Educator

Jorge N. Leal is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside. He is a cultural and urban historian of the ethnic Mexican and Latinx experience in Southern California.
Previous to earning his doctorate, Dr. Leal was an active participant in the L.A. Latina/o music scene, both as a rock critic and concert producer. He is also the curator of The Rock Archivo LÁ, a public history repository that collects, shares, and examines Latina/o/x youth cultures ephemera.
He is currently completing a book manuscript that examines how Latinx youth culture participants have reshaped the urban space and advocated for more expansive notions of belonging in late twentieth-century Los Angeles.


Dr. Leal received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism and History and his master’s degree in History at California State University, Northridge. He earned his Ph.D. in U.S. history at the University of California, San Diego.

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Michelle Vasquez Ruiz

Co-Curator and Research Lead

Michelle Vasquez Ruiz is a graduate student in the department of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. As a daughter of Oaxaqueño immigrants who reside in Los Angeles, her academic work is dedicated to furthering an understanding of Indigenous diaspora, histories of displacement and immigration. She is interested in looking at how Indigenous communities who migrate across borders maintain culture and community. Through her current role as co-curator with the Boyle Heights Museum she is dedicated to preserving and sharing the histories of underrepresented communities. She actively encourages community members and students to construct their own historical narratives through various mediums.

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Yesenia Hunter
Administrator and Grants

Yesenia Navarrete Hunter is the daughter of Guadalupe and Alberto Marquez and grew up as a farmworker in Washington State. Yesenia is an Assistant Professor of History at Heritage University, located on the traditional lands of the Yakama People. Her work centers on the braided histories of immigrants and settlers and their impact on Indigenous peoples. Her work is guided by the question: How do people make place and create rhythms of belonging in fragile spaces? The aesthetics of her work are guided by elements of place, memory, embodied practices, and relationality. Along with her scholarly work, Yesenia and the Hunter Family explore questions of belonging through what they call "Hunter Gatherings,” events that invite others to participate in dialogue and making. Hunter's art and scholarship are fueled by her role as a mother and deeply influenced by the belief that belonging is more than a basic human need, it also operates as motivation and expression and can link as to living big full lives.

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Cassandra Flores-Montano

Graduate Researcher

Cassandra Flores-Montano is a Ph.D. student in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. She grew up all over the Inland Empire but calls Temecula, CA her home. Cassandra received a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies with a concentration in Latinx Studies from Wellesley College. Cassandra’s research focuses on social movements, youth activism, and LGBT and women’s history. Cassandra is always excited to collaborate with the Boyle Heights community and work on exhibits for the museum!

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Kathy Pulupa
Graduate Researcher

Kathy Pulupa is a California native, raised in the nearby San Fernando Valley. She is currently a second-year Ph.D. student in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Kathy received her B.A. here at the USC, with a major in Contemporary Latino and Latin American Studies (CLLA) and a concentration in Gender/Queer studies. Kathy’s research focuses on the interstices of Latinidad and Sexuality navigating the traditionality of Latinx culture through the negotiation of recreational spaces like soccer fields across Los Angeles. Kathy’s research interests and passions include ensuring the historical preservation of Queer Latinx communities in Los Angeles. 

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Rosa Noriega-Rocha

Undergraduate Researcher

Rosa Noreiga-Rocha is a current PhD student at the University of Michigan in the Sociology department. Rosa grew up in agricultural Watsonville California but attended the University of Southern California where she earned her B.A. in American Studies and Contemporary Latinx Studies. Rosa's contributions to the BHM are rooted in ensuring that historically marginalized peoples are included in the making of public history.

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Ivonne Rodriguez

Public Programing Coordinator

Ivonne Rodriguez is a life-long resident of South Central Los Angeles and a proud mother of three children. Guidance and motivation from family and friends encouraged her to return to school in 2013, obtain her G.E.D., and transfer from LATTC. In the fall of 2016, she entered the University of Southern California as an American Studies and Ethnicities major just as her eldest son began his first year at Cal State University Northridge. She currently serves as Project Specialist for the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative, a college access and success program that works with resident families from the communities neighboring USC’s South L.A. and East L.A. campuses.  She is committed to serving first-generation, college-bound scholars of color and families, like her own, and keeping stories of resiliency alive.

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Diana Balbuena

Undergraduate Researcher

Diana Balbuena was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. She is the proud daughter of two Mexican immigrants from the state of Puebla. She is currently a Senior at the University of Southern California, studying American Studies and Ethnicity. She enjoys being part of the Boyle Heights Museum Research Team and making information accessible to the public.

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Isis Galeno

Undergraduate Researcher

Isis Galeno is a native of South Central Los Angeles. She graduated from USC with a B.A.  in Anthropology and NGOs and Social Change. Isis’ personal research focuses on transnationalism, the ways in which music shapes identity, and youth cultures. Outside of academia, Isis has dedicated much of her time to working with a variety of organizations that aim to provide assistance and resources to low-income, first-generation students of color in order to ensure their postsecondary participation and success.

Arabella Delgado
Research Lead and Digital Humanities Curator

Arabella Delgado was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. She is currently a 2nd year Ph.D. student in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Arabella received her B.A. in Anthropology and American Culture from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Her work focuses on the representation of Latinx history in historic preservation projects along the U.S.-Mexico border. Arabella has a specific interest in the public humanities and alternative ways to share history. In addition to research, she also creates digital walking tours for the museum. 

Alumni

Elvis Arteaga
Education Researcher

Brittany Aquino
Undergraduate Researcher

Yaneiry Barrios
Undergraduate Researcher

Mathew Carrera
Graduate Researcher



 

Alejandra Franco
Undergraduate Researcher

Mary Fernandez-Perez
Undergraduate Researcher

Karla Hernandez
Undergraduate Researcher

Josemaria Ibarra
Education Researcher

Karen Kwon
Undergraduate Researcher

Sami Sanchez
Website designer