Above: the Haitian Heritage Museum
By Alexander Britell
MIAMI — A new exhibition at the Design District-based Haitian Heritage Museum takes a look at the history of Haiti’s road to freedom.
Chimen Libete, (“The Road to Freedom”), is a collaboration between the Design District-based Haitian Heritage Museum and the Museum of the Haitian National Pantheon (MUPANAH) in Port-au-Prince.
Through pictures, graphics and text, it examines the history of Haiti’s path to freedom, from the scourge of slavery to independence in 1804.
“It’s about the abolition of slavery, and the story of the whole period of until Haiti became independent,” Michelle Frisch, executive director of MUPANAH, told Caribbean Journal. “So it’s the whole story.”
Chimen Libete was originally an exhibit at Haiti’s national museum last year.
Eveline Pierre and Serge Rodriguez, co-founders of the Haitian Heritage Museum, soon approached Frisch about bringing it to Haiti, albeit in a more compact form.
“The exhibit, I did it in Haiti last year, and it’s a much bigger exhibit, maybe six times the size — so we decided to do a smaller version and to also translate it into English,” Frisch said. “We wanted it so visitors interested in Haiti could come and visit, and especially students — because we’re very interested about the Haitian children living here [in Miami] seeing it, because they don’t see too many exhibits about [Haitian history].”
Haiti is currently working on expanding MUPANAH with a new wing, as part of what Frisch hopes is an increased profile for the museum in the region.
“It’s important not only for Haiti but also the Caribbean — Haiti has a big history with Latin America and the countries of Latin America, so we want to show more,” she said.
Chimen Libete represents the first time MUPANAH has partnered on an exhibit outside of Haiti, and Frisch is hopeful it’s the first of many for a museum with one of the richest collections of history in the Caribbean.