Museums in Puerto Rico

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Puerto Rico has quite a few major museums (often mentioned in Repeating Islands; I hereby admit my nationalistic bent.) Among the most recognized on the island are the Museo de Arte de Ponce (MAP), the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (MAPR), the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MAC), and the Museo de las Américas. Damaris Hernández Mercado (El Nuevo Día) lists more specialized venues that also serve to enrich our historical and cultural awareness and help us learn about our island’s history, anthropology, geography, and more. Hernández put together a list of eight museums on the island. Although she does not include museums housed in the universities, such as my favorites, the Dr. Pío López Martínez Museum of Art (also known as the Frade Museum) at the University of Puerto Rico-Cayey and the Museum of History, Anthropology, and Art at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, the list is very useful because it focuses on lesser known museums.

I will briefly sum up her descriptions. The Museo del Tabaco [Tobacco Museum] in Caguas, contains tools, graphic art, photography, and film detailing the history of the tobacco industry, as well as a replica of a tobacco-curing shack and a live artisan workshop where you can watch the entire cigar-making process. Caguas also has Casa del Trovador Luis Miranda “Pico de Oro” and the Centro Musical Criollo José Ignacio Quintón, both dedicated to traditional Puerto Rican music. The first, in honor of celebrated singer of traditional Creole music Luis Miranda “Pico de Oro,” houses a collection of typical instruments used on the island, which include the cuatro, the güiro, the tiple, and the bordonúa. The second, details the evolution of music in Puerto Rico, exploring its Taíno (Native American), European, and African roots through the centuries.

The Casa Museo de los Santos Reyes de Juana Díaz [Museum of the Three Kings] in Juana Díaz, honors the three Wise Men, exhibiting memorabilia, costumes, artwork representing Epiphany celebrations. The Museo de Muñecas [Doll Museum] in Quebradillas, houses over 600 Barbie dolls and their accessories. According to Hernández, although the museum is dedicated to Barbies, the Mattel Company did not allow the town of Quebradillas to use of the brand name in its title. The Museo del Mundillo de Puerto Rico [mundillo is a fine lace] in Moca, exhibits all types of items made with mundillo lace. It also has a collection of bolillos [bobbins] made of 60 different types of wood. There is a remarkable collection of antique mundillo lace spanning from the 16th to the 19th century. It also offers courses in the traditional lace-making techniques.

Focusing on history, we have the Museo de los Próceres Don Luis A. Ferré [Luis A. Ferré Museum of Notable Leaders] in Cabo Rojo (my hometown) and the Museo Fuerte Conde de Mirasol [Conde de Mirasol Fort Museum] in Vieques. The Cabo Rojo museum pays homage to four leading figures in Puerto Rican history: Ramón Emeterio Betances (doctor, diplomat, novelist, and famed Puerto Rican nationalist leader), Salvador Brau (the first official historian of Puerto Rico and a major exponent of the autonomist movement), Pedro Albizu Campos (distinguished orator, lawyer, and president of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party), and Luis A. Ferré (former governor of Puerto Rico). It houses paintings and prints by leading Puerto Rican artists such as Lorenzo Homar and Efraín Rivera. The Vieques museum focuses on the rich background of the island of Vieques, including objects, documents, photography, graphic arts, and other material detailing its archeological and historical trajectory.

For museum addresses, hours of operation, and full article, see http://www.elnuevodia.com/8museosdiferentes-582826.html

Photo of a Tobacco Museum artisan from http://www.visitacaguas.com/ruta_3.htm

2 thoughts on “Museums in Puerto Rico

  1. Nice article. There are many great museums on the island. We were right by the Tobacco Museum in Caguas the other day, but didn’t stop in. We’ll be making a trip back to do that. Thanks for the info!

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