Puerto Rico - Cultural Destinations | Travel | Smithsonian

Puerto Rico - Cultural Destinations

Puerto Rico - Cultural Destinations

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Puerto Rico's cities and towns enjoy vibrant cultural lives rooted in their many museums and cultural institutions. In San Juan, the Casals Museum celebrates cellist Pablo Casals, whose life and work is celebrated by San Juan's annual Casals Festival, with exhibits including his medals, cello, manuscripts, photographs, and other mementos. The San Juan Museum of Art and History showcases traditional Puerto Rican art and features multimedia exhibits showcasing the history of the islands. The Museum of the Americas contains a collection of Latin American popular and folk art housed in the 1850's military barracks, the Cuartel de Ballaja. The Puerto Rican Museum of Art's permanent collection features works of Puerto Rican art from the 16th century to present day. Modern art made on island can be found in rotating exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico.

In Puerto Rico's second-largest city, Ponce, The Ponce Museum of Art houses the most extensive art collection in the Caribbean. It includes the works of European masters, including Velasquez, Rubins, and Rodin, as well as Puerto Rican and Incan pieces. The museum, which consists of 14 galleries, two gardens, and an amphitheater, was designed by Edward Durell Stone (who also designed New York's Museum of Modern Art). The Ponce Museum of History's 10 exhibition halls in two adjoining neoclassical buildings traces the city's ecological, political, economic, and civic development.

In Puerto Rico's central region, the Museo del Tabaco Herminio Torres Grillo in Caguas offers exhibits that follow the history of the tobacco industry in Puerto Rico, including daily hand-rolling demonstrations. The Museo de Caguas-Casa Alcaldía, housed in a 19th century building, highlights the town's history. In Barranquitas, the Museo de Arte y Antropologia houses an extensive collection of Puerto Rican art along with the only Greco-Roman art collection in the Caribbean. Here, visitors can also learn more about Puerto Rico's political history by at the former estate of Luis Muñoz Rivera, the influential 19th-century advocate for Puerto Rican autonomy who became the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in the U.S. House of Representatives, and after whom San Juan's international airport is named. In Utuado, the Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Caguana is a park featuring stone monoliths and petroglyphs dating back to the year 800 as well as a museum dedicated to indigenous Taíno culture.

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