Guantanamo Public Memory Project
September 17 through November 21, 2015, 2nd floor, North gallery
The Guantanamo Public Memory Project tells the history of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from its establishment in 1898 to the present. In tracing this history using multimedia platforms, visitors will be able to explore and engage in the discussion of how changes in the Naval Base’s use have embodied cultural, political, and legal trends in American history. As part of the exhibition, people affiliated with GTMO share their memories of the place, both positive and negative, as the exhibition seeks to foster an on-going dialogue about the future of GTMO and the policies it shapes.
In addition to hosting the traveling exhibition, students from the Public History Program at the University of South Carolina have curated three smaller exhibitions on research topics related to the Guantanamo Public Memory Project. Each of these will be displayed in concert with the main exhibition. The first of these, “Creating Culture: From Cuba to the Palmetto State,” explores through oral histories how five Cuban immigrants experienced their journeys from Cuba to South Carolina and the changes to their identity that living in South Carolina has caused. The second, “Caught in the Crosshairs: Guantanamo Bay at the Height of the Cold War,” uses oral histories, written testimonies, and objects to analyze the experiences of Americans and Cubans living in Guantanamo in the 1960s. Finally, “Adapting GTMO: The Environment and Sustainability on an Isolated Navy Base,” focuses on how GTMO has started to turn to sustainable energy practices and environmental policies in an attempt to adapt to the challenging political circumstances in which the base finds itself.
Image: Northeast Gate, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Photo by Ellen Robertson