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Architectural Details on the Revolution Museum
In 1909 the General Ernest Aubert, then Havana´s governor of, decided to build new headquarters which accommodated the Provincial Government. The project was designed by the architects Rodolfo Maruri (Cuban) and Paul Belau (Belgian), while the construction phase was assumed by the General Contracting Company. The building was designed bt the canons of Eclecticism and decorated with paintings and sculptures by Cuban artists as Armando Garcia Menocal, Leopoldo Romañach, Esteban Valderrama and Jilma Madera. In 1917, Mariana Seva the First Lady of the Republic visited the site, who was captivated by the magnificence of the building. Mario Garcia Menocal, her husband and president, dispossessed the Provincial Government Palace property. In early 1918 everything was arranged for the building to become Cuban Republic Presidential Palace. After the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1959 and until 1965, the Presidency and the Council of Ministers were settled there. On January 4th, 1974, the former Presidential Palace became the permanent home of the Revolution Museum. On March 13th, 2010 it was declared a National Monument.
History of the Revolution Museum
The Revolution Museum was created on December 12th, 1959. The basis of the initial collection of the museum was the material collected by Celia Sanchez, exceptional fighter of the 26 de Julio Movement in the Sierra Maestra Mountains. The La Punta Castle de and the base of the Monument to Jose Marti in the Revolution Square were the first places where the museum was located, until January 4th, 1974 when an exhibition opened in its present location, the former Presidential Palace. In 1976 the Granma Memorial is constructed as a dependence.
The Revolution Museum and its Museology
The ground floor of the Revolution Museum is dedicated to contemporary Cuba. Its content ranges from 1990 to the present. There is also a monographic about the most important events during the 45 years when the building served as the Presidential Palace and the story of its transformation into a museum. It characterizes the presidents’ management of between 1920 and 1965 and explains the actions of March 13th, 1957, when a group of youths belonging to the Revolutionary Directorate, stormed the presidential palace with the aim of executing the dictator Fulgencio Batista. Its first floor is devoted to the history of the Revolution and covers the period of 1959 to 1989. This collection is primarily concerned with the early years after the triumph, when carried out major socio-economic changes in the country. Also, it highlights the aggressive imperialism escalation against the Cubans, which was momentous like the Bay of Pigs invasion on April 19th, 1961 and the October Crisis as a prelude to another armed attack in 1962. On the other hand, the second floor has four rooms covering the epoch of Cologne, since 1492 – arrival of the Spaniards to the island – until 1898, when the end of the wars of independence against Spain and the intervention of the United States occurs in Cuba. These rooms show the aborigines characteristics, the future of the colonial society, the establishment of slavery and the wars for independence in 1868 and 1895. The neocolonial republic collection starts with the establishment of the US government auditor from of January 1899 and the establishment of the Republic on May 20th, 1902. Then it continues to expose the evolution of successive governments and frustrated revolutionary processes. The last displayed stage corresponds to the National Liberation War, which reflects the assault on the Moncada Barracks, training and consolidation of the rebel army and the militant actions that would spread across the plain and the Sierra Maestra Mountains.
Exterior Areas of the Revolution Museum
The main entrance of the Revolution Museum of the is flanked by two symbolic elements: the remains of the Angel gatehouse – part of the wall that surrounded Havana in colonial times – and the SAU-100 self-propelled canon used by Fidel Castro during the Bay of Pigs fighting. Outside the building and on the back of it is the Granma Memorial. There you can see a valuable group of historical pieces related to the National Liberation War and the subsequent battles of the Cuban people to defend their sovereignty. Here the Granma Yacht is exposed.