LORAIN, Ohio (AP) -- A man who has spent 35 years collecting Central and South American cultural artifacts says he's hoping to find his traveling museum a permanent home in the Ohio town that's known by locals as the International City.
Retired school teacher Guillermo Arriaga, the curator and president for the recently created mobile Museum of Hispanic and Latino Cultures, has more than 3,000 items in his collection and is looking for space to display them in Lorain, The Morning Journal newspaper (http://bit.ly/Km7iYE ) reported.
The museum, which was incorporated in 2010 and became a nonprofit in 2011, has traveled to more than 15 locations. The items from 18 cultures, largely from Mexico, include woodwork, paintings, a statue of an Aztec god, a traditional dress for Mexican girls and a mortar and pestle made of lava rock.
Arriaga said some of the collected or donated items are showing wear from traveling.
"I have not even shown the best of what we have in our collection, because I will not take it out to be traveled with," Arriaga said.
Other items haven't been displayed because they're too fragile to be frequently moved, or because the donors stipulated that they be excluded from traveling exhibitions.
"Many people don't want to see their artifacts in a traveling museum, because they spent money or it is a heirloom," he said.
The cities of Cleveland, Columbus and Fremont have expressed interest in the museum, but Arriaga said he feels Lorain is "diverse in cultures" and would make a good home for the collection, though he has yet to find a suitable space.
Officials in Lorain are considering the possibility that the museum could be located near a theater and an art gallery that's in the works to create a sort of arts district.
"We've been working with him and other business owners to see if we can come up with a mixture that works for everyone," said Ray Carrion, the city's community development leader. "We're optimistic that here very soon we can hopefully find a nice location for him."
Information from: The Morning Journal, http://www.morningjournal.com