The Oscar Maria de Rojas Museum of Cardenas in Matanzas, is the second oldest in Cuba.
Foundation and History of the Oscar Maria de Rojas Museum
Founded on March 19th, 1900, the Oscar Maria de Rojas Museum is one of the oldest in Cuba, and is mainly dedicated to the history of the city of Cardenas in Matanzas province. The institution was renamed in honor of who was its first director and member of the Rojas-Cruzat family that assumed the idea that neighbors of Cardenas had years before to found a museum-library.
It became National Monument since 2000; the facility is currently located in a stately building on Calzada Street, built between 1859 and 1861, according to the plans of surveyor and Catalan master builder Don Jose Rosello and Prats, as the headquarters of the Town Hall and residence of the Lieutenant Governor. The first Spanish official based there was the brigadier Don Domingo Verdugo and Massieu, with his award-winning wife, the sublime poet woman from Camaguey Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda. Between 1878 and 1966 the building was seat of City Hall. In 1966, the building became property of the Ministry of Culture and in 1979 became the Museum Oscar Maria de Rojas.
The facility closed in 2001 to undergo major repairs, supported by iconographic documents and archaeological studies which returned the beauty and architectural splendor almost lost, work done according to plans and investigations made by the architect Augusto Jose Bueno Garcia .On December 5, 2003, Fidel Castro reopened the entity.
Showrooms of the Oscar Maria de Rojas Museum
Its pieces are distributed in various rooms: Founders Hall, American Archaeology, Cuban archeology, Malacology, Minerals, global Fauna, Weapons, Numismatics, Ethnology, History, the room dedicated to Jose Marti, the art room, and a Veterans Center and a hall for events. There visitors engrossed with the history of the region, with events such as the signing of the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba on February 21st, 1901 and the history of the national flag.
The original books of Cuban poet Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda are exhibited there; the original weapons of the town, letters of Tomas Estrada Palma, who was the first president after independence from Spain.
In the first room, where archaeological remains can be seen, among other pieces, a skeleton with more than 5000 years old found in the so called Cueva Calero (Calero Cave), near Varadero. The room dedicated to the insect fauna is impressive for its large collection of butterflies, beetles and other insects.
Another room is the of Weapons, where used parts of weapons from prehistory to the Second World War as knives, swords, guns, cannons and other war artifacts that are of interest to specialists and scholars can be observed.
Then the Hall of the Independence War, with parts and personal belongings of participants in the historic contest, documents of the Cuban National Hero Jose Marti are displayed, as well as the flag used by soldiers of Lieutenant General Antonio Maceo of the Liberation Army. Rescued remains of projectiles of the Maine battleship, sunk after the explosion in the Havana bay that served as a pretext for US intervention in the war between Cubans and Spaniards in 1898 are also shown.