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Exhibition of rare Spanish Documents Wins National Award

Media Contacts:
Lauren Noel, Marketing Assistant
The Historic New Orleans Collection
(504) 556-7655 |

Emily Schmidt, Communication Strategist
Gambel Communications
(504) 324-4242 |

Exhibition of rare Spanish Documents Wins National Award
“The Threads of Memory” given 2011 Award of Merit by the American Association for State and Local History

June 2011 | New Orleans, LA—“The Threads of Memory: Spain and the United States (El Hilo de la Memoria: España y los Estados Unidos),” an exhibition currently on view at The Historic New Orleans Collection, received the 2011 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. The award, given by the group’s Leadership in History Awards Committee, is part of the nation’s most prestigious competition for recognizing achievement in state and local history.

The exhibition features materials from the Archive of the Indies in Seville, where it was originally curated and displayed to critical and public acclaim. The archive and the Spanish government made the rare decision to send the materials on a limited American tour, selecting only three institutions—The Collection, the New Mexico History Museum and the El Paso Museum of History—to receive the exhibition. The award also recognizes the bilingual companion catalogue, which was a collaborative effort among all of the institutions.

“‘The Threads of Memory’” has helped educate visitors about Spain’s role in discovering and founding much of this country, and it would not have been possible without the efforts of everyone involved,” said Priscilla Lawrence, executive director of The Collection. “Spain rarely allows these materials to travel because of their fragility, and we are proud to be part of the international team that organized this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“I believe that for all of us who worked on ‘El Hilo de la Memoria,’ this was a model of collaboration for North American and Spanish cultural institutions,” said Isabel Simo, director of the Archive of the Indies.

Spanning 300 years from Ponce de León’s first contact in Florida in 1513 through Spain’s cession of the territory to the U.S. in 1819, “The Threads of Memory” features nearly 140 paintings, illustrations, documents and maps. The exhibition is presented in English and in Spanish and among the items on display are some of the earliest maps of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River and accounts of Spanish involvement in the American Revolution.

“This is a wonderful award that rightly recognizes the exceptional work of the three American museums involved in the project,” said Guillermo Corral Van Damme, cultural counselor for the Spanish Embassy in Washington, D.C. “Few times have I seen such an incredible amount of interest and attention to detail put into an exhibition. Working with them, one could feel how our common Spanish-American history is still very much alive today.”

The catalogue features essays on Spanish missions in the New World, Louisiana under Spanish rule and western expansion during the 19th century. The illustrated work is available in The Shop at The Collection and online at for $65.

“The Threads of Memory” is co-organized by Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the Spanish Ministry of Culture with support from the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C. Falia González Díaz of the Archive of the Indies curated the exhibition, which is sponsored by Fundación Rafael del Pino.

The exhibition will be on view in New Orleans through July 10, 2011, at 533 Royal St. Admission is free, and gallery hours are 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Tuesday–Saturday; and 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Sunday. For images and more information, visit The AASLH award will be presented at the group’s annual meeting on Sept. 16, 2011, in Richmond, Va.


Editor’s Notes:

  • Digital images of items from this exhibition are available. Please contact Lauren Noel ( or (504) 556-7655) with your request.

About The Collection

Founded in 1966, The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center and publisher dedicated to the preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, The Collection offers guided tours, free rotating exhibitions, a research facility and a museum shop. For more information, visit or call (504) 523-4662.