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Named Best Museum 2022 by Miami New Times

Illustrating Cuba’s Flora and Fauna

September 6, 2002 - January 19, 2003

Illustrating Cuba’s Flora & Fauna, the first exhibition of its kind, celebrated the richness of Cuba’s natural history.

Through printed illustrations from the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the exhibition told the story of Cuba’s natural beauty as an expression of national identity. Illustrating Cuba’s Flora and Fauna traced the respective contributions of Mother Nature, indigenous people, and European, African and Asian settlers of the island.

Nearly 500 colorful, scientific illustrations and landscapes reveal Cuba’s plants and animals as interpreted by the country’s resident naturalists and European scholars. New perspectives are offered on the process of evolution, dispersion, loss and assimilation that lie at the root of Cuba’s physical wealth and splendor.

Exhibition Highlights

  • Cuba’s first printed book with natural history illustrations showing marine life, published in Havana in 1787
  • Engravings from La Sagra’s magnificent Historia Física, Política y Natural de la Isla de Cuba, printed in Paris in 1837-1851
  • Examples from European-printed collections, including works by Catesby, Albin, Buffon, Barraband and Gould

The content and artifactual material for Illustrating Cuba’s Flora & Fauna came from the private collection of independent scholar Emilio Cueto. Cueto has a long and wide-ranging history with the museum, having served as guest curator for Cuba in Old Maps in 1999 and Miahle’s Colonial Cuba in 1994.

Guest curatored by Emilio Cueto.

Organized by HistoryMiami.

Sponsored in part by Citigroup Foundation.

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