Hidden Gem: Mexican Museum

The Art David de la Torre ’70 Wants You to See

Written by Monica Villavicencio
Mexican MuseumPortrait of Mexican Museum founder Peter Rodriguez, “Over the Rainbow,” by Alfredo Arreguín (oil on canvas, 2005). Photo by Jeremy Snyder ’16.

San Francisco’s Mexican Museum is small, but thanks to Executive Director David de la Torre ’70 its cultural footprint isn’t.

The five-room museum boasts a collection of 14,000 ancient, colonial, folk, and fine art pieces from Mexico, the U.S., and other parts of Latin America—one of the largest on the West Coast—and is the city’s only affiliate to the Smithsonian Institution.

But de la Torre has a far grander vision.

He is overseeing one of the 40-year-old museum’s biggest projects to date: a move from a modest space tucked away at Fort Mason Center to four floors in a new building in the city’s Yerba Buena Arts District, where it’ll be in good company. The area is home to renowned museums like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Construction is slated for completion in 2017.

De la Torre has enlisted the help of some fellow Dons to achieve his vision. Sofía Treviño ’13 oversees membership and administration, and students in USF’s new Master of Museum Studies Program will help curate exhibits, including two that will be hosted by USF next year.

Mexican Museum coupleGeorgianna Lagoria de la Torre MA ’78 and David de la Torre ’70 at the Mexican Museum. Photo by Jeremy Snyder ’16.

Fellow alumna and wife Georgianna Lagoria de la Torre MA ’78, whom David met at USF, will also lend her expertise. She’s run museums like the Contempo-rary Art Museum, Honolulu, and the Palo Alto Arts Center.

And USF School of Law Dean John Trasviña serves on the museum’s International Advisory Board.

With the help of so many in the USF community, de la Torre is confident that the Mexican Museum will become one of the city’s most vibrant cultural institutions.

“My vision is that the museum will become a major center for the serious study of Latino art, history, and culture, and will promote an appreciation and understanding of what Latino culture means to us as Americans,” he said.

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