Results 1-7of 7 Reviews
by Moncada Ireland
March 19, 2011
St. Augustine, Florida
December 14, 2009
From journal A Week in Western Cuba: Havana & More
April 27, 2007
This is by no means an interactive museum, as there are lots of dry displays, but it does give a fascinating insight into life before and during the revolution. There are loads of photographs, almost as if the revolutionaries decided to keep a pictorial record of all the events, and some quite gory ones, too. Certainly some of the uniforms soaked in the blood of the combatant are not to be viewed by the squeamish and, whatever your political view, it underlines the passion and fervour that these revolutionaries felt. Their weaponry and uniforms are fully displayed and, of course, there are numerous photos and references to the iconic Che Guevara. The surprise was when we left the second floor and came onto the first floor we were greeted by life size models of Che and his revolutionary comrade, Camilo Cienfuegos, emerging from the undergrowth in full combat uniform. That kind of brought things to life in a bizarre way.
Ironically, the museum building was originally the presidential palace of Cuba’s dictator, General Batista, and it really is a grand affair. The hall of mirrors on the first floor, the room leading to the infamous balcony, should be looked down on from the upper museum and then gazed at from the vast floor area of the room itself. The views from here down to the sea are also pretty dramatic.
Outside, across a courtyard in the Granma Memorial are the vehicles, planes, and bombs used in the revolution. Of course, taking pride of place is the boat that Castro used when he and his followers travelled from Mexico to Cuba. It’s enshrined in a huge "glass display cabinet" and a couple of guards kept a vigilant eye over all visitors. Many of the adapted vehicles are crude and amateurish and include a flame thrower out of a tractor, an "armor"-plated grocer's van riddled with heavy bullet holes, and a Soviet tank which Fidel unsucceesfully used against counter-revolutionaries. But these were determined fighters who adapted what they had to achieve victory.
From journal Havana and its museums
New Jersey, New Jersey
September 19, 2005
From journal A land caught in between: Cuba
Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom
January 4, 2005
If the history of the Spanish rule of the island is of more interest, start on the top floors for exhibits and information on the colonial period, moving right up to the wars of independence at the end of the 19th century, which were led by Jose Marti.
The majority of captions are in English and Spanish, and the staff is mostly here to supervise, not to elaborate with extra information.
Crossing the courtyard to the newer annex, you can see (although not very well since it is virtually hidden under a bizarre glass construction) the Granma - the boat that carried Castro, Guevara, and the other rebels to the coast of southern Cuba, where they disembarked to begin the revolutionary struggle. There is also a display of military vehicles used by leading members of the government when the Americans tried to invade by way of the Bay of Pigs in 1961.
A small gift shop sells books and fairly tawdry souvenirs, and there is an equally uninspiring café selling limited refreshments.
I would recommend this museum to adults and to older teenagers with some interest in the revolution, but would hesitate to recommend to those with younger children. This is a fairly formal museum with no interactive elements, so it can become heavy after a time. I loved it, but I'm fascinated by the revolution.
From journal Havana, A Great Time!
April 14, 2002
The ornate presidential palace was completed in 1920 and was home of the President of the republic from then until the revolution, and it is by far the most impressive building in the whole of Cuba. The interiors are truly sumptuous and a couple have been preserved in their original state, including Batista's office from which he fled at the approach of Castro's troops and a hall decorated by Tiffany's of New York. Out front you can also see one of the last remaining chunks of the old city wall and the Tank that Fidel rode in when repelling the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.
The museum (admission $3) is a fairly standard telling of the story of the revolution from its early underground days all the way through to the modern day successes through the medium of documents, photographs, models of battles and personal belongings of the revolutionaries. The story is an interesting one full of adventure and excitement and seems to have been very well documented with surprisingly fine photographs of a movement that was supposed to be underground. Some of the individual stories are moving and even the tacky wax models of Cienfuego and Che manage to tug at the heartstrings.
Behind the palace is The Granma Memorial a large glass pavilion which houses the Granma, this was the boat that Fidel, Che and their companions first made land fall in Cuba onboard, having traveled across from Mexico. The boat has gone on to become a venerated symbol of the revolution, but it is in itself far from impressive and the pavilion makes it very difficult to get a good look at it. Dotted around the pavilion are various vehicles and remains of vehicles that were used in the revolution and the Bay of Pigs invasion, highlights include the remains of a US B-26 shot down by Castro and a home made tank used by Cienfuego.
On your way out don't miss the Cretins, one of the few exhibits in English, it consists of charicetures of Batista, Regan and Bush thanking each one of them for their contributions to the revolution. It is one of the more obvious examples of the mix of fact and propaganda that makes this a highlight of any visit to Havana.
From journal Havana Ball
Hasselt, Limburg, Belgium
November 13, 2000
On the second floor, some exhibits were vaguely relevant and I lost attention. I would like to share with you a quote of Fidel I wrote down during my visit: 'The guerrilla's formation process is an uninterrupted appeal to each man's conciousness and honour. Che knew how to get into the most sensible feelings of the revolutionaries'.
From journal Hola la Habana!