Museo Provincial Coronel Simon Reyes Hernandez
The central Cuban province of Ciego de Avila separated from the larger province of Camaguey in 1975, taking the name of the newly formed territory’s largest city as its own. As such, when the time came to create the official provincial museum, it was only appropriate to place it here, as well as to inaugurate it with the name of local independence hero Colonel Simon Reyes Hernandez. Hence, the Museo Provincial Coronel Simon Reyes Hernandez was born.
The Museum’s History
Though the Museo Provincial Coronel Simon Reyes Hernandez was only inaugurated on 13th March, 1983, the building’s intriguing history stretches back much further. In fact, despite the museum’s somewhat humble appearance, it can be argued that !it’s housed in the most historic building in Ciego de Avila.
Built in 1874, the Museo Provincial Coronel Simon Reyes Hernandez was originally designed to act as a command post for the Spanish armed forces. It maintained this role until Cuban independence from the Spanish colonial rule, when it would become the headquarters of the local elections board.
Fast-forward half-a-century later and upon the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, the building once again transitioned to a military role. Due to its location not far from the foothills of the Escambray Mountains, it became a local headquarters for government troops fighting counterrevolutionary rebels that had fled to the region. It maintained this role for roughly five years, until the middle of the 1960s, before finally becoming the museum it is today almost two decades later.
The Museum Today
Today the Museo Provincial Coronel Simon Reyes Hernandez is divided into six sections; five feature permanent collections while the sixth hosts temporary exhibits. The five permanent collections focus on the topics of archaeology, Cuba during the colonial period, Cuba during the Republican period, Revolutionary Cuba, and religion in Cuba—or more specifically, the local fusion of Roman Catholicism and African religious traditions.
The temporary exhibits section generally features works of art by both local and national artists, though it also occasionally features collections of a historical or cultural nature on loan from other museums throughout Cuba.
Even when undoubtedly simple, the Museo Provincial Coronel Simon Reyes Hernandez does a fine job of explaining the history and culture of the Ciego de Avila province. Though it probably isn’t worth making a long journey for a trip to the museum alone, if you’re in the area a visit would certainly be worth your time!
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