The Archive of Cuban Socialism (ArchCuS) is a repository of Cuban material culture spanning from 1959, when the Cuban Revolution seized power, until the collapse of the socialist regimes of Eastern Europe and the disintegration of the U.S.S.R., by the turn of the 1990s. 

Fidel Castro’s endorsement of socialism in 1961 radically transformed life—and material culture—in the country. Thirty years later, the disintegration of the Soviet Union brought an end to the Cuban socialist experiment—if not to the Cuban communist regime—and once again changed material practices and environments, as the country lost most foreign partners and entered into a deep economic crisis from which it never fully recovered. ArchCuS documents the artifacts, clothing, and memorabilia that Cubans produced and consumed during the three decades in between, the material culture that inspired them to build a communist utopia, that allowed the state to surveil and repress, and that helped many to craft alternative lives. ArchCuS archival project is guided by the belief that, to understand present-day Cuba, it is necessary to understand the material legacy of its revolutionary and totalitarian past. 


ArchCuS is a project 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. ArchCuS is the offspring of the Cuba Material blog, which Cabrera Arús created in 2012 to initiate a public debate on the politics of Cuban socialist material culture. It is supported by the non-profit Tower of Babel.



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 collaboration of historians Michael Bustamante, Ada Ferrer, and Alejandro Velasco, and with the support of literary scholar Stacy Pies.



Emma Correa, Stuyvesant High School

Hana Flamm, New York University

Marina Mendoza, New York University

Orlando Justo, Ardsley High School


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, Ángela Rojas, Anna Veltfort, Carlos A. Aguilera, César Beltrán, Daniel Gómez Fernández & family, Eida del Risco & family, Elvis Fuentes, Emilio García Montiel, Fabricio González, María A. Cabrera Arús & family, Gerardo Fernández Fe, Gilda Duarte Gra & family, Gonzalo Hernández Arocha, Jairo Alfonso, Janet Vega Espinosa, María L. Pérez, Meyken Barreto Querol & family, Marial Iglesias Utset, Maura Candelaria, Mirta Suquet Martínez & family, Oxana Álvarez, Pablo Argüelles Acosta, Paquito D’Rivera, Ramiro Fernández, Raúl Aguiar, Ricardo Hernández Otero, Sergio Valdés García, Verónica Cervera, Vanesa A. Vallejo, Walfrido Dorta Sánchez, Yasiel Pavón Zayas & family


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.