SAN ANTONIO – Drive over the Guadalupe Street Bridge, look to the right and you’ll see it just off Colorado Street on the corner: a small wooden building painted yellow, dating back to the 1930s. It's the site of the West Side’s first museum.
The Museo del Westside, a project of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, is expected to open in 2019 once the funds are raised, the repairs are made and the exhibits are ready.
The museum's director is Dr. Sarah Zenaida Gould, the former curator of the Institute of Texan Cultures.
Gould said that now she’s creating more of a community museum.
“We really want to highlight the local history, local experiences and local visions for the future of the West Side,” Gould said.
She said today’s West Side has its roots in the Mexican Revolution of 1910, when waves of refugees fled to San Antonio.
“They were coming to a place where they knew they would find work, be able to find people who could speak their language and knew their culture,” Gould said.
Old photographs from that era and their descendants fill the Casa de Cuentos, the house next door where people regularly gather to tell stories and share memories of growing up on the West Side.
The Museo del Westside will be somewhat similar, with mementos and other donated items, such as an old neon sign advertising the services of a successful midwife.
Gould said the museum will likely highlight prominent figures in politics, entertainment and business from the West Side.
She said there are monthly meetings to gather input from the community and others with ties to the West Side regarding the exhibits and more.
“This is something we will do for the life the museum. We always want to tell stories people want to hear,” Gould said.
Although Gould said she isn’t from the West Side, it reminds her of the neighborhood where she grew up.
“This is a neighborhood that exemplifies Mexican-American identity in many ways," she said.
Gould said the West Side has even been described as “the Mexican-American cultural capital of the United States.”