Participant Info

First Name
Sarah Zenaida
Last Name
Independent historian and curator
Website URL
San Antonio History, Texas History, Latino History, Museums, US Toy Industry History, public history, material culture, historic preservation
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Historian. I am a historian committed to public scholarship and aim to research and write accessible histories of value to the general public. Broadly, my research focuses on the intersections of comparative ethnic studies, material culture, and popular culture. I am an expert on the history of the US toy industry, and am currently working on a book manuscript based on my doctoral dissertation about ethnic imagery in US toys. I have taught courses in public history, Mexican American history, US history, material culture, and more at Our Lady of the Lake University, the University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio College, and the University of Michigan.

Curator. I am director of El Museo de la Comunidad, a project of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in San Antonio, Texas. I was previously the Lead Curatorial Researcher at the Institute of Texan Cultures. I have curated over a dozen exhibitions on history, art, and culture. I offer workshops on oral history for university students, secondary school teachers, and university professors, and regularly speak to print, digital, radio, and television news sources about Texas and US history and culture. A selection of exhibit images and related press clippings can be found in my online portfolio.

Preservationist. I am co-founder and co-chair of Latinos in Heritage Conservation (LHC), a national organization that promotes historic preservation within American Latino communities and advocates for the protection of American Latino heritage at local, state, and national levels. As LHC’s communications chair I also design and edit La Herencia, LHC’s e-newsletter. In addition, I serve on the board of El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association, an organization that promotes knowledge, appreciation, and preservation of this historic trail, and am an active member of the Westside Preservation Alliance, a coalition dedicated to promoting and preserving the working-class architecture of San Antonio’s historic Westside. My article “Latinos in Heritage Conservation: Establishing a National Vision for American Latinos and Historic Preservation” was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2016.

I received a BA in American Studies from Smith College and an MA and PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan. I am a former fellow at the National Museum of American History, the Winterthur Museum, and the American Antiquarian Society, and am a National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC) Leadership Institute alumna.

Recent Publications
“Before the Courts,” La Voz de Esperanza 29, no. 6 (July/August 2016): 4-5.
“Latinos in Heritage Conservation: Establishing a National Vision for American Latinos and Historic Preservation,” in Bending the Arc: 50 Ideas to Shape the Next 50 Years of Preservation Practice, edited by Max Page and Marla Miller, University of Massachusetts Press, 2016.
“Challenges in Exhibiting Oral History,” Oxford University Press Blog, March 2016.
Media Coverage
The Ranger, “Pecan Shellers’ Strike Remembered” (March 6, 2017) 4 San Antonio Express-News, “Spicy Legal Battle Over Flavored Cups” (December 22, 2016) A1, A13 KKYX, “Talk About Texas” episode about the exhibit “The Painted Churches of Tex
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, Early Modern, Modern, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Children & Youth, Food History, Material Culture, Museums, Public History, Race, Urban History