“The House on Marcos Street: A Family and Community Gathering Place” by Danielle Garza


The House on Marcos Street, a house that’s been in Danielle’s family for over forty years, is one of many homes in a neighborhood filled with generations of stories and memories that influence the community today.  Many memories have been created in this small home — from the realization of her ancestors’ dreams to the hardships of reality. The families within this neighborhood have seen joy and suffering just like her own family. This neighborhood is constantly changing, affecting the people who call this community home. Today this community changes through the increase of gentrification and the decrease of livable homes. and the negative connotations others in San Antonio have towards the West Side. Through the creation of this exhibit, Danielle tells a story about a common Hispanic family whose life has been shaped in this space. She connects it to the changes occurring in this neighborhood because as the neighborhood is changing, the people who live within it have a right to know about these transformations. For this reason, history and the present are interwoven in this exhibit.

For this exhibit, Danielle opened three rooms of the family home for the general public: the dining room, living room, and front bedroom. She created an artifact list, wrote the text for exhibit panels to hang on the walls, recorded stories of her family, and decided on the photographs that would be presented. After conducting and editing interviews with her family members about their experiences in the home, Danielle then researched the history of the home itself and her family’s connections to it. The house had been uninhabited since her great-grandmother passed away, so Danielle cleaned the home, found a way to arrange her wall text, and found places for the artifacts to be shown in context to prepare the home to receive visitors for the exhibit. Each artifact has its own place in the home with a wall label that explains its importance. Most of these artifacts were visible in the living room. Danielle chose to display these items in the living room because it is often the liveliest and most comfortable room for other families. Items like her great-grandfather’s guitars depicted the influence of music in her family’s life. A photo of Danielle’s grandmother’s wedding showed others a memorable moment that all families can relate to. Displaying her great-grandmother’s Fiesta hat brought joyful memories to those who have lived in San Antonio, allowing visitors to witness similarities between her family and their own while also presenting her own unique family experiences.

Danielle placed photo collages down the hallway of the home to create a family tree for both sides of Cleotilde and Theodolfo’s family lineage. In the middle are recognizable figureheads that showed enough interest in Cleotilde or Theodolfo to have a picture taken with them and a small personal note. The outer collages represented the internal family and placed faces of the people spoken about in the exhibit. The inner collage, in one way, places the family and the home into a larger context of larger organizations and figureheads. She placed these frames in the hallway and not in another section of the house because it is an in-between area for the home, meeting visitors as they transitioned between rooms. The home exhibit provided a glimpse of a historic West Side neighborhood through the eyes of a family that lived there and the neighbors that made a house into a home. These family interviews paired with family heirlooms and photos that told the story of Danielle’s own family and the surrounding neighborhood.

You can listen to snippets of the recorded interviews by clicking the video below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *