The Archive of Cuban Socialism (ArchCuS) is a unique repository dedicated to preserving and understanding the rich material culture that shaped Cuba during a transformative period from 1959 to 1990. Spanning the rise of the Cuban Revolution to the collapse of socialist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, ArchCuS documents the artifacts, clothing, and memorabilia that influenced Cuban society during these pivotal decades. By preserving the material legacy of the late-twentieth century, ArchCuS provides invaluable insights into the present-day Cuba we know today.

The Cuban Revolution of 1959 marked a turning point in the nation’s history. With Fidel Castro’s rise to power and subsequent endorsement of socialism in 1961, Cuba underwent a radical transformation, affecting all aspects of life, including material culture. Over the next three decades, Cubans produced and consumed a wide range of goods that mediated and, at the same time, reflected their participation in the communist utopia. However, the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s had far-reaching consequences. Cuba lost its principal foreign partners, plunging the country into a deep economic crisis that still lingers today. These dramatic shifts in the socio-political landscape reshaped material practices and environments, leaving a lasting impact on Cuban society.

ArchCuS serves as a dedicated project aiming to meticulously document and preserve the material culture from Cuba spanning the years from 1959 to 1990. Through ArchCuS, we delve into a vast array of artifacts, clothing, and memorabilia that were integral to Cuban society during this transformative era. This material culture inspired some Cubans to embrace the communist utopia, also serving as tools of regime legitimation, state surveillance, and repression, as well as aiding citizens in crafting alternative lives. By documenting the material legacy of the twentieth century, ArchCuS provides crucial insights into the essence of contemporary Cuba.

ArchCuS is ArchCuS is the brainchild of María A. Cabrera Arús, a sociologist who studies the impact of fashion and domestic material culture on regime stability and legitimation, with a focus on state socialist regimes and the Caribbean region during the Cold War. Building upon her multi-awarded Cuba Material blog, established in 2012 to ignite a public dialogue surrounding the politics intertwined with Cuban socialist material culture, ArchCuS is supported by the non-profit Tower of Babel.


Technology & design

Lisbet Corcoba, identity design

AlCubo, web design and development


The ArchCuS website was developed thanks to a 2021–2022 New York University Digital Humanities Seed Grant, obtained with the support of historians Michael Bustamante, Ada Ferrer, and Alejandro Velasco, and literary scholar Stacy Pies.



Emma Correa, Stuyvesant High School

Hana Flamm, New York University

Marina Mendoza, New York University



Lila del Risco, High Tech High School

Mariana Flor, Union City High School

Sam Gomez Cabrera, Chapin School


Lila del Risco, High Tech High School

Sam Gomez Cabrera, Chapin School

grants & awards

2021–2022, NYU Center for the Humanities’ Digital Humanities Seed Grant

2015, New Challenge Award for Social Innovation from The New School (granted to the project Cuba Material)


2021 fundraiser

Ana L. González, Anna C. Pertierra, Enrique Guzmán Karell, Gerardo Fernández Fe, Jacqueline Loss, Jorge Ferdecaz, Juan Carlos Rodríguez, Lisbet Korkov, María L. Pérez, Meyken Barreto Querol, Reina Fernández, Vanesa A. Vallejo, Vilma Vidal García


Ada Baisre, Adalberto Delgado, Alberto Darias Marcos, Amanda Fuentes, Ángela Rojas, Anna Veltfort, Armando Lucas Correa, Armando Suárez Cobián, Carlos A. Aguilera, César Beltrán, Daniel Gómez Fernández & family, Dinorah Pérez, Eida del Risco & family, Elvis Fuentes, Emilio García Montiel, Esther María Hernández Arocha, Fabricio González, Gerardo Fernández Fe, Gilda Duarte Gra & family, Gonzalo Hernández Arocha, Humberto Huergo Cardoso, Idalia Morejón Arnaiz, Iraida Lopez, Jairo Alfonso, Janet Vega Espinosa, Jesús López Grueiro, Jorge Wellesley Bourke, Lizabel Mónica, Leonor Rod, María A. Cabrera Arús & family, María Elena San Pedro, María L. Pérez, Meyken Barreto Querol & family, Marial Iglesias Utset, Maura Candelaria, Mirta Suquet Martínez & family, Oxana Álvarez, Pablo Argüelles Acosta, Paquito D’Rivera, Pedro Luis García, Ramiro Fernández, Raúl Aguiar, Ricardo Hernández Otero, Rogelio A. López, Sergio Valdés García, Verónica Cervera, Vanesa A. Vallejo, Vitalina Alfonso Torres, Walfrido Dorta Sánchez, Yaima Contreras, Yasiel Pavón Zayas & family, Yornel Martínez Elías


Donate objects, documents, clothing, or any piece of material culture produced, imported, or consumed in Cuba between 1959 and 1990. It does not matter the state of preservation.

share your story!

ArchCus wants to document your story about any object or piece of clothing used between 1959 and 1989.