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New Museum To Capture Little Havana's History – And Not Just The Cuban Part

Courtsey HistoryMiami Museum/Barlington Group
An artist's rendering of the planned Museo de Little Havana on Calle Ocho.

Earlier this year the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood a national treasure. Now Little Havana is getting its own museum, on – where else? – Calle Ocho.

On Monday, the Barlington Group development firm and the HistoryMiami Museum announced they're launching a campaign to raise $150,000 for El Museo de Little Havana, or, the Little Havana Museum.

It will be located on Little Havana’s most iconic strip – Southwest 8th Street, better known as Calle Ocho – at 16th Avenue. Bill Fuller, who heads the Barlington Group, said he hopes to see the museum open by the end of this year.

“It will be a museum dedicated to the history and to the story of our neighborhood," Fuller said, "one that examines not just the Cuban history but the early history, through the Cuban history and even to the history that we have today.”

HistoryMiami Museum Director Jorge Zamanillo said the new museum is important because Little Havana, since before it was even called as such – when groups like Bahamians were its principal residents, has been a microcosm of Miami’s larger story.

“What better location to tell the story of this community and what it’s all about?" said Zamanillo. "Aspirations, new peoples arriving in the city, a neighborhood continuing to transform itself and share in the many cultures and diversity of the city it represents.”

Little Havana, which in the past generation has seen an influx of Central American immigrants, recently has been a site of controversy over development and gentrification.