The Harvey Richards Media Archive Presents an Opening Day Video Review
The Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit “Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los campos” opened March 9, 2019, at the California Museum in Sacramento, the very first appearance of the Traveling Exhibit anywhere. Walking into the museum, we were greeted by a placard announcing the exhibit with Harvey Richards’ iconic photo of Dolores Huerta holding up the Huelga sign during the grape strike of 1965.
Our visit to the museum began with “Dolores Huerta in Conversation” in the museum’s theater packed with ticket holders eagerly awaiting a conversation between Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of Governor Gavin Newsom, and Dolores Huerta. Tickets sold out the very first day they were offered. Dolores took her place on the stage and fielded questions with answers that always returned to her main concerns for expanding organizing and voting efforts. Her deep understanding of the current political situation in the state gave us all an appreciation for her continued activism and advocacy for farm workers. She filled the room with her magnetism and brilliance, inspiring everyone to stand up and applaud at the end which Dolores quickly turned into a rhythmic cadenced clap in unison bringing us all together. You can see a webcast of the conversation posted below on this blog post.
After the conversation, we went up to the second floor to see the exhibit, Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los campos. The first thing greeting us at the entrance to the huge exhibit was my video, Hasta Sacramento, a 7 minute excerpt from my dad’s, Harvey Richards’, film “The Land Is Rich 1966” about the farm worker’s march from Delano to Sacramento in the spring of 1966. People entering the exhibit were watching it as it played in a loop, repeating itself continuously. Then I continued my way through the exhibit set around a central curving wall showing a vast number of historical photos, posters and explanatory essays.
It was humbling and thrilling to see how the photos from the Harvey Richards Media Archive were displayed. They were large, prominently placed and beautifully mounted. My biggest question was how did they display the 8′ tall mural of Harvey’s iconic photo of Dolores holding up the Huelga sign. Dolores had appeared in front of this photo mural in Washington DC when the original exhibit, called One Life: Dolores Huerta, opened back in 2015. I rounded the corner at the end of the curved central exhibit wall and there it was, mounted on a cloth backing as big as life. We took our picture in front of it as did many others at the exhibit. All together a remarkable and moving experience which I recommend to everyone.
In the afternoon, the California Museum hosted a Curator’s Talk featuring Dr. Taina Caragol, of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery who was responsible for initiating the original exhibit “One Life: Dolores Huerta”. You can watch a webcast of her presentation posted below. Dr. Caragol recounts her remarkable journey creating the exhibit from researching to acquiring and assembling the exhibit itself. I was honored to be mentioned in her thank yous to all of the contributors to the exhibit and for her giving credit to Harvey Richards for his popular photo of Dolores with the Huelga sign that is the emblem for the whole show. She shared the mic with audience members including Smithsonian’s Maria del Carmen Cossu who was responsible for transforming the One Life exhibit into the Traveling exhibition, and with Dolores Huerta herself speaking from the floor in the audience. I am so grateful to the Smithsonian Institution and especially to Maria del Carmen Cossu for including the images from the Harvey Richards Media Archive in the show.
The exhibit offers educators a unique opportunity to learn and share more about Dolores Huerta and her pivotal role in the history of our state and nation in championing the cause of farm workers and especially women. Harvey Richards’ photos are prominently featured in these doorway images.
Other important educational tools coming out of the exhibit can be found on the Smithsonian Learning Lab. Materials for the Learning Lab are still in the process of being produced from the exhibit, so check it out now and in the future.
The exhibit will be in Sacramento until July 7 and then will travel to other museums around the country over the next few years. It moves next to Stockton in August, 2019. Don’t miss it.
Also, mark you calendars for April 10, 2019 for the first Dolores Huerta Day enacted in 2018 to recognize the legendary Latina activist by encouraging Californians to participate in a day of community service in her honor. The California Museum is marking the day with free admission to all of its exhibits.
MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577; email@example.com