“Botanica” installments comes to CSUEB

Latinx and carribbean installment at C.E. Smith Museum at CSUEB

Professor Albert Gonzalez greeted his 5:45 p.m. Thursday class with a warm smile and genuine concern regarding his students future. He quickly dove into the agenda for the day and outlined the status of the upcoming installment hosted by his very own students.
The Anthropology course “Museum Studies” at California State University, East Bay is set to host an installment in the C.E. Smith Anthropology Museum located on the fourth floor of Meiklejohn Hall. The students have been working on their own exhibits over the course of the semester, aiming to debut them at the end of the term.
“Botanica” will house a collection of student-created exhibits that aim to pay homage to the Latinx culture by showcasing the unique and traditional style of the shop.

“We get a fair amount of visitors, but with the word getting out, we know this museum could be huge news.”

— Professor Albert Gonzalez

A conventional “botanica” is a folk medicine shop that sells a variety of herbal remedies, religious candles, jewelry, gems and other items of the sort. The typically sacred shops are common in many Hispanic-American countries.
The materials used for the exhibitions have either been recycled by the Anthropology club and department or funded by the students themselves. The components of the exhibits tell an interpretive story about what a botanica is through the eyes of the students.
Gonzalez and his student assistants have overseen all the work that goes into the museum firsthand and have acted mentors in the process of the completing the exhibits.
“It has been great seeing them actually get invested in it,” said student assistant Elizabeth “Raevin” White, a senior dual Anthropology and International Studies major. “Even though it’s a class you can really tell how determined they are trying to produce some quality work for the school’s museum. Unlike others, this class allows them to display their creativity.”
Gonzalez is proud of all his students’ hard work and is equally as excited for the future of the installments.
“We get a fair amount of visitors, but with the word getting out, we know this museum could be huge news,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez has plans for the museum exhibits to circulate both on and off campus, debuting in places other than just the C.E. Lewis Smith Anthropology Museum in Meiklejohn Hall. Ideally, the exhibits would then on travel to other campuses like UC Berkeley.
The students are all eager to show their exhibits that they have continuously been working on throughout the semester.
“I have put around 25 hours so far into the exhibit, working on the technical items that will be present,” said senior Anthropology major Domanik Pedro. “I also have been painting and installing objects to make the whole exhibit feel like a home someone would live in.”
Gonzalez and his class will present the museum at the end of the semester, showcasing all the creativity and dedication the students have put into their exhibits.
All in all, the genuine excitement and hard work put into these exhibits are something to look forward to by anyone who visits CSUEB. Organizers are hoping the turnout will be bountiful once the museum is open to the public after construction, considering the museum is free.