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Start Exploring the Vibrant Material Culture of Cuba's Communist Era Today

ArchCuS is an archival project dedicated to preserving and documenting the material culture of everyday life in Cuba from 1959 to 1990. By exploring our collection, you gain a deeper understanding of how the communist regime profoundly influenced and transformed Cuban society.

Browse our collection to immerse yourself in a diverse array of artifacts, clothing, and memorabilia that reflect the dynamic and complex experience of living in Cuba during this era.

Political subjectivities, or the understandings citizens had about their relationship to the state, became imbedded in and generated by the material.

The highly bureaucratic, institutionalized state acted not only as a distributor of resources…, but it was also the ‘corporation’ or source of most mass-produced goods, owned the retail establishments, employed the staff, and, finally, dictated the qualities, aesthetics, and prices of goods…. The state dictated what counted as legitimate material necessity… what the population consumed (type of good, design, and quality), …where (state stores with appropriate advertising and displays) and how (dictating ‘socialist’ modes of consumption as well as taste).

All dimensions of material culture were politicized in one way or another in the period of communist rule . . . Communism, after all, was a material ideology. It was about material conditions, material factors, and material transformations. Above all, communist regimes sought to transform society by remaking material culture. ​

We are proud to have been awarded the 2021–2022 NYU Center for the Humanities’ Digital Humanities Seed Grant. This recognition highlights our commitment to promoting a comprehensive understanding of Cuba’s historical legacy through the lens of material culture.