Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) has created and will be distributing 5,000 bilingual poster sets nationally through schools, migrant education centers, museums, and libraries based on the content of the popular Smithsonian exhibition Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964. This exhibit, which opened at the Smithsonian in 2009 and is currently on a national tour, explores the little-known story of the Bracero Program; the largest guest worker program in U.S. history. Between 1942 and 1964, millions of Mexican men came to the U.S. on short-term labor contracts.

The poster set not only tells a story of exploitation but also one of opportunity. It will be a portable teaching resource that offers historical context, asks big questions, challenges perceptions, tells powerful stories, and provides a platform which encourages dialogue and civic engagement.

Bittersweet Harvest was organized by the National Museum of American History in partnership with the SITES, and received support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.


Opening Closing Copy 1: Host Institution Status
02/20/2010- 05/02/2010 Mexican Heritage Plaza, San Jose, CA Booked
05/22/2010- 08/01/2010 Museo Alameda, San Antonio, TX Booked
08/21/2010- 10/31/2010 El Museo Latino, Omaha, NE Booked
11/20/2010- 01/30/2011 Chamizal National Memorial, El Paso, TX Booked
02/19/2011- 05/01/2011 Chandler Gilbert Community College Library, Chandler, AZ Booked
05/21/2011- 07/31/2011 The Historical Society of Saginaw County and the Castle Museum, Saginaw, MI Booked
08/20/2011- 10/30/2011 Park City Museum, Park City, UT Booked
11/14/2011- 11/16/2011 Office of Migrant Education Annual Conference, Nashville Convention Center, Nashville, TN Booked
02/18/2012- 04/01/2012 Oregon Historical Society, Portland, OR Booked
05/19/2012- 07/29/2012 Springs Preserve, Las Vegas, NV Booked
08/18/2012- 10/28/2012 The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History Booked
11/17/2012- 01/27/2013 Town of Windsor Museum, Windsor, CO Booked
02/16/2013- 04/28/2013 Roland Park Country School, Baltimore, MD Booked
05/18/2013- 07/28/2013 Four Rivers Cultural Center and Museum, Ontario, Oregon Booked
08/17/2013- 10/27/2013 Reynolds Gallery, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA Booked
11/16/2013- 01/26/2014 Lakeshore Museum Center, Muskegon, MI Booked
02/15/2014- 04/27/2014 Dittmar Memorial Gallery, Norris Center, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL Booked
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Opening Closing Copy 2 : Host Institution Status
05/22/2010- 08/01/2010 Branigan Cultural Center, Las Cruces, NM Booked
08/21/2010- 10/31/2010 Center for Community Engagement, John Spoor Broome Library, California State University, Channel Islands Booked
11/20/2010- 01/30/2011 Sonoma County Museum, Santa Rosa, CA Booked
02/19/2011- 05/01/2011 Wittliff Gallery, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX Booked
05/21/2011- 07/31/2011 Missouri History Museum, St. Louis, MO Booked
08/20/2011- 10/03/2011 Museum of History and Art, Ontario, CA Booked
02/18/2012- 04/29/2012 Visitors Center , University of Texas - Pan American, Edinburg, TX Booked
05/19/2012- 07/29/2012 Coachella Valley History Museum, Indio, CA Booked
08/18/2012- 10/28/2012 Dayton Memorial Library, Regis University, Denver, CO Booked
11/17/2012- 01/27/2013 El Progreso Memorial Library, Archives & Museum, Uvalde, TX Booked
02/16/2013- 04/28/2013 Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL Booked
05/18/2013- 07/28/2013 San Lorenzo Park, Monterey County Parks, Salinas, CA Booked
08/17/2013- 10/27/2013 Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO Booked
11/16/2013- 01/26/2014 Carlsbad Museum & Art Center, Carlsbad, NM Booked
02/15/2014- 05/18/2014 Putnam Museum, Davenport, IA Booked
Extension Tour Dates      
06/07/2014- 08/17/2014   Call for Availability
09/06/2014- 11/16/2014 Wyandotte County Historical Museum, Bonner Springs, KS Booked
12/06/2014- 02/15/2015 Columbia Gorge Discovery Center - Wasco County Historical Museum , The Dalles, OR Booked
03/07/2015- 05/17/2015 Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park, Tempe, AZ Reserved
06/06/2015- 08/16/2015   Call for Availability
09/05/2014- 11/15/2015   Call for Availability



Press release

Media only: Christin Chism
(202) 633-3159;

Media website:

Smithsonian Shares Compelling Story of the Bracero Program with Communities Nationwide through Educational Poster Set

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) will feature a little-known chapter in American history as its fall 2012 free resource for schools, migrant education centers, museums and libraries across the country. “Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964,” a colorful set of six bilingual posters with images and interviews by documentary photographer Leonard Nadel, is based on the traveling exhibition by the same name, currently touring the United States.

The goal of the poster sets is to celebrate the impact and achievements of migrant farm workers by enabling people of all ages to learn more about the stories behind the Braceros. Online educational resources and downloadable poster files are available at Facing labor shortages on the home front during World War II, the United States initiated a series of agreements with Mexico to recruit guest workers for American farms and railroads. The Emergency Farm Labor Program, more familiarly known as the Bracero Program, enabled approximately 2 million Mexicans to enter the United States. While the work was often grueling, the program offered participants economic opportunity.

The contributions made by these laborers have had significant impact on the political, economic and social climate of both the United States and Mexico. “Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964” was organized by the National Museum of American history in partnership with the SITES, and received federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for 60 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play.

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history.

For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000. The Smithsonian Latino Center is dedicated to ensuring that Latino contributions to arts, sciences and the humanities are highlighted, understood and advanced through the development and support of public programs, scholarly research, museum collections and educational opportunities at the Smithsonian Institution and its affiliated organizations across the United States.

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About this Project
  • Traveling Exhibition
  • Online Exhibition

  • Posters
  • Download Posters
  • Poster Handbook
  • Survey for Participants

  • Educational Materials
  • Using National Standards
  • Creating Oral Histories
  • All Educational Resources

  • Other Resources
  • Community Programs
  • Bracero History Archive
  • Poster 1
    Poster 2
    Poster 3
    Poster 4
    Poster 5
    Poster 6

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    Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente (Archives)

    Choosing to Participate Poster Set

    Earth from Space
    Poster Set

    Mask of Lincoln
    Portfolio Set


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    Mailing Address
    PO Box 37012
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    Washington, DC 20013-7012
    202.633.3168 (tel.)
    202.633.5347 (fax)

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