Bilingual exhibit at the Park City Museum uncovers activist Dolores Huerta’s accomplishments in farm worker rights
Spanish and English lectures scheduled
The Park City Museum is planting seeds of information regarding the history of farm worker rights with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service’s “Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields/Revolución en los Campos.”
The exhibit, which is presented in Spanish and English, is showing through Aug. 8 at the Park City Museum’s Tozer Gallery, said Courtney Titus, curator of collections and exhibits.
The exhibit spotlights the story of civil rights leader Huerta and her groundbreaking work with the United Farm Workers’ Union, which she co-founded with Cesar Chavez.
“While Cesar has gotten a lot of the credit, Dolores has often been under-recognized for her contributions in this work,” she said. “But she was there from the beginning and dedicated her life to the movement of improving farm workers’ lives.”
The exhibit, which is composed of banners, photographs and a bilingual video, is divided into six different sections that illuminate Huerta’s life as a teacher, mother, communicator, organizer, lobbyist and contract negotiator, Titus said.
“There is also a free app that goes with this exhibit, and it serves as an audio and visual guide that features stories told by Dolores and others about the Farmworkers Movement,” she said. “Visitors can download the app on iPhones and Androids, and it really brings things to life when you hear Dolores, herself, speaking though this app.”
In addition to the human-rights aspect, the exhibit also details Huerta’s early life and influences, including her mother, Alicia, Titus said.
“Her mother taught Dolores values such as how to be an independent woman and the importance of fighting for what she believed was right,” she said.
Huerta, the recipient of the 2012 Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, started her career as a teacher, and would see many of her students, who were farm workers’ children, coming to class hungry, Titus said.
“Dolores felt the way she could really help was not by teaching hungry children, but to fight for the rights of those students’ parents,” she said. “She fought to get them basic amenities that included drinking water and toilets. She also negotiated labor contracts.”
One of the things Huerta is most famous for is helping to organize the Delano Grape Strike in 1965, a protest against the exploitation of farm workers that brought together the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee and the Mexican National Farmworkers Association, Titus said.
“Those two organizations eventually came together to create the United Farm Workers Union,” she said. “The interesting thing was that many of the movements Dolores fought for happened in the 1960s and 1970s when many other civil rights movements were happening.”
Huerta has a special place in Park City’s history, Titus said.
In 2017, the Sundance Film Festival premiered “Dolores,” an award-winning documentary by Peter Bratt.
“That was the year the Women’s March also came to Park City, and Dolores was in town,” Titus said. “So Park City residents who attended that march were lucky to hear Dolores speak.”
Later that year, the museum partnered with Park City Film to screen the documentary in conjunction with the exhibit “The Way We Worked,” which examined labor in the United States.
“So having this exhibit feels like things have come full circle for us,” Titus said.
Although the museum hasn’t planned any film screenings, it will host two virtual lectures — one in Spanish and another in English — to complement the exhibit, Titus said.
The first lecture, “Sí Se Puede! Dolores Huerta, su historia y legado,” conducted in Spanish by María del Carmen Cossu, project director for Latino initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, will start at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 2.
The second lecture, “Marching for Change: Life and Activism of Dolores Huerta,” will be given at 5 p.m. on July 7, by Stephen Velasquez, curator for the Division of Cultural and Community Life, National Museum of American History, she said.
Registration for the lectures, which will talk more in depth about Huerta’s life, is now open at parkcity history.org.
Titus said showing exhibits such as “Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los Campos” and hosting corresponding lectures are important to the community.
“As a history museum we always want to help people learn from the past and not forget what happened,” she said. “I think exhibits like these can hopefully be inspiring to people in addition to enlightening people on issues and subjects that have come before,” she said. “One of Dolores’ biggest accomplishments is that she taught that every single person has a voice they can use to make changes, no matter what language they speak, what color their skin is or what country they come from. And another goal for us as a history museum is to inspire people to take action today to help improve their own lives and the lives of others.”
When: Through Aug. 8
Where: Park City Museum’s Tozer Gallery, 528 Main St.
When: 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 2
When: 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 7
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