In addition to being a country that has some fanatic beaches and cultural assets (such as through their dance, music and food), Cuba is also home to a number of fantastic museums, Below are 10 that I have visited and can recommend
If you intend on visiting just one single museum, then the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana is the one to visit. It was completed in 1953, and since then it has preserved fine arts record of almost 200 years. Half of the museum, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes records the art history of Cuban art, the images of workers, artists etc. While the other half opened since 2001 is for arte universal.
It is the most famous museum of Cuba. It is situated inside the former Presidential Palace and was designed to look like the Versailles Palace. The museum was built in between 1913 and 1920 and its grand decoration was done by Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Studio. The museum contains documents and images from the time of the revolution. Most images in there are in black and white and some of the exhibitions are described in both English as well as in Spanish.
Finca Vigia, also known as Hemingway’s house is the noteworthy place. The famous poet Ernest Hemingway lived in various places in the world, and Cuba was one of them. It is believed that while staying at this house, Hemingway wrote some of his famous poems like, For Whom The Bell Tolls, which is a part of his The Old Man and the Sea, also parts of A Moveable Feast. After Hemingway’s death in 1961, the Cuban government took this place under itself and named it Finca Vigia meaning the “Lookout house”. Entrance inside the house is prohibited, and it is to be seen from outside. The house has huge windows through which the interior can be seen clearly.
Just the way dance is a major part of Cuban culture, the same way music is also another important part. And this museum Cuba is dedicated to that only. It was considered the National Museum of Music in the year 1981, and since then it is being like that only. This museum explores the musical history of Cuba and has musical instruments stored from the 16th century onwards. There are rooms inside the museum, where people can play the instruments, and also listen to old recordings. This museum is not only for musicians, but also a good going for families.
It is one of the oldest houses of Cuba, surviving since the days of the colonial rule. It is named after the first governor of Cuba, Diego Velazquez, who once upon a time used to reside there. It was turned into a museum in the year 1970 and is among the historic sites. The main attraction of this building is its architecture that has a mixture of Islamic, Spanish and Andalusian designs. The house or the museum has furniture and decorations from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century.
This pharmacy house, was converted into a museum in the year 1996. The building is made of beautiful mahogany wood structures as well as shelves and contains an amazing collection of French apothecary jars. The museum depicts the popularity of apothecaries and pharmacies during the nineteenth and twentieth century in Cuba. It was a pharmacy house back in the days and now it provides a cultural view of the city and its architecture.
Cubans have a different kind of love for perfumes. Though it is really pricey, yet Cubans love perfumes, and this can be understood while visiting this part laboratory, part shop, the part museum named as Old Havana Perfume Museum. This museum is based on a neo-classical house, which used to be a drugstore and perfumery back in 18th century. It displays most perfumes made in Cuba, 1960 onwards, though there are international perfumes like Chanel No.5 etc. available as well. The museum also contains Suchel Fragrencia’s whole collection of perfume. The best part about this museum is that it allows the tourist to get their own signature perfume made using the 12 elements, like chocolate, tobacco, lavender, lilac, jasmine, sandalwood etc. that has been in use since the colonial period.
It is one of the oldest museums in Cuba. Though it is not dedicated absolutely to rum, it is still considered the rum museum. The museum is named after the traveler Emilio Bacardi y Moreau, who not only traveled the whole world but after doing so came back and established the famous Santiago de Cuba. This museum shows the Cuban legacy of rum. Other than the rum storage, in Santiago de Cuba, there are other rooms as well where Emilio Bacardi’s collections are stored in the archaeological room, the historical room, where art and paintings are displayed.
This place is for all the art lovers. This studio has not only beautiful sculptures but also paintings. The sculptures and the artworks in this studio are mostly centered on women and what roles they play in their family and society. It is a place that shouldn’t be missed at any cost. There are even small sculptures, oil paintings and other art materials available for sale.
Though it is not typically a museum, yet it can be considered so. This is one of the most beautiful churches in Cuba, which is no longer in use. There are beautiful and amazing structures to witness inside this church like the famous bell tower, the front façade, the central nave, and the two galleries that are connected to one another through the staircase. Though the church is no more used for praying, yet it is still preserved for music concerts, and for the tourist to enjoy the architecture and the interior.
There are many, literally many museums in Cuba, more than 40 in Havana alone in fact!