Friday, February 08, 2008


There are a couple of interesting exhibits are now at the Centennial Museum (which I visited today)--Bracero Memories and the Border Film Project, both of which you can read about here.

For those who don't know, the bracero program was a guest worker program that brought Mexican workers to the United States from 1942-64. Some photos from the bracero exhibit can be viewed here. It's a nicely put-together exhibit about a program that I think is often overlooked in America's history. My grandfather once employed braceros on his farm, and my dad told me he used to hang around with them as they worked the fields. It was interesting to put a visual to some of the things my dad has told me about.

The Border Film Project is a project by a group in Arizona that put disposable cameras in the hands of both Minutemen (volunteer border patrol groups) and Mexican migrants. They provided address labels and mailers so that the cameras could be returned to them anonymously. The photos in the exhibit are not the most artful, as they are obviously not professional quality, yet you do get a good idea of the culture of both groups. It's an interesting contrast, the white (mostly) guys sitting in their trucks watching for migrants, and the migrants walking through the desert, water bottles in hand, or sometimes in hotel rooms or on buses. Predator and prey, I guess you could say.

If you're in El Paso, these are worth a visit to UTEP to see. I was very pleased to see both of these exhibits, since I think both are such great fits for a border city museum.

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