Museo de la Revolucion

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by fizzytom on January 4, 2005

Housed somewhat tongue-in-cheek in the stately former presidential palace, the Museum of the Revolution primarily blows the trumpet of Cuba's dictator, Fidel Castro, and the achievements of the revolution. Here history is told according to how the revolutionary Communists see and have seen it, and it’s not difficult to recognise what should be taken with a sizeable pinch of salt. That said, this is a fascinating place to visit, and you should leave at least 2 hours, if not a whole morning or afternoon, to do it justice. If the revolution is your thing, start on the ground floor, where there is a display relating to the fighting and the guerilla tactics, with especially interesting exhibits about Che Guevara. Then go up to the first floor and learn about the achievements Cuba has made in healthcare, education, the arts, farming, and manufacturing since the revolution. There is a lot you could miss out on, but there are lots of little gems dotted around the displays.

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.

Museum of the Revolution (Museo de la Revolucion)
Calle Refugio 1
La Habana, Cuba, 10600
+53 7 624091

© LP 2000-2009