November 7, 2013 Library of Congress to Host Celebration of Mexico

Free Two-Day Event Features Film, Music, Mexican and Mexican-American Luminaries

Press Contact: Jennifer Gavin (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: Francisco Macías (202) 707-1922
Contact: Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or [email protected]
Website: Celebration of Mexico

The world premiere of the oldest-known documentary footage of Mexico, fascinating stories from the archaeologist who is excavating the site of a 14th-century Aztec temple and a display of rarely seen treasures of Mexico are among highlights of a two-day “Celebration of Mexico” hosted by the Library of Congress Dec. 12-13.

Presented in collaboration with the Mexican Embassy in the United States of America, the unique two-day event will feature music, film, sound recordings and presentations by eminent Mexican and Mexican-American writers, artists and scholars.

All events are free and open to the public in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E. Tickets are not required, but anyone wishing to attend must register at

“Mexico is one of our closest neighbors, yet many Americans have a limited understanding of its staggeringly rich cultural and natural patrimony,” said James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress. “Culturally, racially, artistically, geographically, it is a strikingly diverse land with an ever-changing story. The Celebration of Mexico at the Library of Congress will share a glimpse of Mexico that is seldom seen.”

Eduardo Medina Mora, Ambassador of Mexico in the United States of America, said “We are honored to collaborate with the Library of Congress in order to bring you ‘A Celebration of Mexico.’ During this two-day conference, some of Mexico’s most prominent writers, artists and scholars will unveil Mexico’s cultures, diversity and dynamism. The event will feature music, films and sound recordings from Mexico and the Library’s archive. We hope you join in this event to celebrate the vast presence of Mexican history, arts and culture in the United States.”

“A Celebration of Mexico” is made possible through the generous support of: The Embassy of Mexico in the United States of America; The James Madison Council of the Library of Congress; Jay and Jean Kislak; Bimbo Bakeries USA; Donald Gerardo and María de las Nieves Mier de Jones, and Nicolás Mariscal Torroella.

“The History of the Mexican Revolution” is a one-of-a-kind film made over the course of 30 years. It is the oldest existing Mexican documentary and the only surviving example of a compilation film made during the silent-movie era. The Library holds the only existing copy and is preserving the five black-and-white nitrate reels. The film premieres with live piano accompaniment by Andrew Simpson Dec. 13 at 11 a.m.

Leonardo López Luján is a Mexican archaeologist, historian and the current director of the historic Templo Mayor project of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), which is unearthing the ancient Aztec metropolis of Tenochtitlan that lies buried under Mexico City. Throughout his academic life, Luján has held many prestigious offices with Mexican Academies and has been a guest researcher at such institutions as Princeton, the Musée de l'Homme, Dumbarton Oaks, and the Institut d’Etudes Avancées de Paris. He speaks Dec. 12 at 10:30 a.m.

Other program highlights include talks by the novelist/poet/playwright Carmen Boullosa about women in Mexico, and the country’s most distinguished public intellectual, Enrique Krauze on Mexican history; a panel on the long history of Mexico’s presence in the U.S. that will include one of America’s most beloved Chicana storytellers--Sandra Cisneros--and be moderated by NPR, CNN and PBS journalist María Hinojosa; and a multimedia presentation by Adalberto Ríos Szalay, one of Mexico’s most acclaimed photographers.

The complete program -- along with podcasts with featured speakers and videos with Library curators -- can be viewed at Additional content will be added throughout the weeks leading up to the event.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at

Discuss and follow the program on Twitter @librarycongress #CelebrateMexico.


PR 13-185
ISSN 0731-3527