Cuban Pathways to open at the Tampa Bay History Center in February (PHOTOS)

Cuba is a fascinating place with deep ties to the Tampa Bay area community. And a new exhibit at the Tampa Bay History Center seeks to portray that.

“What do you imagine when you think about today’s Cuba? Or the Cuba visited by pastel-wearing tourists in the 1950s? The island nation is the largest in the Caribbean and has a long history of turmoil and opportunity–with deep connections to the Tampa Bay region,” says a statement from the Tampa Bay History Center.

Cuban Pathways is the latest exhibition by the Tampa Bay History Center and tells the 500-year story through the lenses of individuals whose labor, political crusades and search for refuge illustrates Cuba’s complex history.

“Given our region’s deep connections with Cuba, this story is part of the Tampa Bay story,” says C.J. Roberts, president and chief executive officer of the Tampa Bay History Center. “Cuban Pathways is the first traveling exhibition produced exclusively by the History Center. We are proud to share these artifacts from our collection and extensive research with the Tampa Bay community and other museums in the Southeast and beyond.”

There are three stories presented in this exhibit, all-encompassing different perspectives of the Cuban experience.

One of the most fascinating pieces will, no doubt, be a boat that was collected from the shores of Key West in 2021. Built from hand, it truly is evidence of the desperation of people trying to make it to the United States, whatever their reason.

This traveling exhibition covers early Spanish settlements, and the arrival of the first Africans to the island, and it includes first-hand accounts of émigrés fleeing Revolutionary Cuba.

The collection will occupy more than 2,000 square feet of gallery space at the History Center when it opens Friday, February 11, for a year-long showing. After the premiere exhibition in Tampa, Cuban Pathways is set to travel the southeastern U.S.

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