Museums of My City, Santiago de Cuba

Photo feature by Janis Hernandez

The Natural Sciences Museum.

HAVANA TIMES, Jan 31 — The Oficina de Patrimonio (Heritage Office) of Santiago de Cuba is one of the most prolific in the country. It has worked for many years on the creation and preservation of sites for conserving material, spiritual and cultural items linked to social groups, classes or individuals from different periods in the history of the nation.

My city has a large number of museums with a variety of themes. In this selection, I wanted to show the readers the patrimonial values of my native city, one filled with history and with very specific characteristics.

Unfortunately, since we aren’t allowed to take pictures inside these museums, I chose to present only their facades. In addition, some others are now in varying states of repair, therefore their appearances are not the most pleasing. In any case, I hope that the friends of this website can become familiar with some of these sites through this modest photo feature.

The July 26th Museum.

The Tomas Romay Museum of Natural Science, located in the majestic building that also houses the Academy of Sciences of the city, displays valuable archaeological exhibits and includes rooms for the study of botany, biology, astronomy, fossils of prehistoric animals and skeletons of curious wildlife, along with a planetarium that ranks as one of its main attractions.

The Emilio Bacardi Moreau Municipal Museum, founded by that singular historic figure, and to whom we are indebted for his patient devotion, today we can enjoy objects of exceptional value, such as the belongings of eastern generals who fought for the country’s independence. Likewise, kept there are many former possessions of Jose Marti, Carlos Manuel de Cespedes and several other patriots. Without a doubt, one its greatest attractions is the mummy brought by him from Egypt for exhibition in the center. Also assembled there is a collection of European paintings from the Prado Museum in Madrid and works by renowned Cuban painters.

The Museum of the Birthplace of Jose Maria Heredia y Heredia, located on the street that took his name, shows objects that belonged to our first national poet, the creator of an important body of literary and poetic work, of which can be highlighted his famous “Oda al Niagara.”

The July 26 Historical Museum, is located in Post 3 of the former Moncada Garrison, the facility that was attacked by a group of young rebels in 1953 to initiate the revolutionary struggle to overthrow the Batista dictatorship. Likewise, one can find the Abel Santamaria Museum in the old civil hospital, where the courtroom is situated where Fidel Castro acted as his own defense lawyer and delivered the famous “History Will Absolve Me” speech.

Other more curious centers include the Museum of Rum, which displays the still of the Bacardi rum factory. There’s also the Carnival Museum and the Museum of the Historic Environment and Decorative Arts, which was the home of Diego Velazquez, the first Spanish governor of the city.

Click on the thumbnails below to view all the photos in this gallery. On your PC or laptop, you can use the directional arrows on the keyboard to move within the gallery. On cell phones use the keys on the screen.