Many people are surprised to find there is a museum in Cuba dedicated to the French emperor Napoleon, and that wouldn’t have been the case if not for a sugar-producing tycoon named Julio Lobo. A staunch Napoleon admirer, Julio sent his staff all over the world to scour for Napoleonic memorabilia.
The hunts were carefully curated by the tycoon, and the bounty was later acquired by the Cuban government after Lobo left the country. The collection includes some curious items, such as a tooth of the emperor, and a tuft of his hair (both said to be authentic), as well as various portraits. The most impressive treasure is the French leader’s death mask, from an impression made by his Napoleon’s personal doctor, Francesco Antommarchi. The doctor reportedly brought the mask with him when he travelled to Cuba after Napoleon’s death in search of distant relatives. Other death masks of Napoleon are in museum collections in Paris, London and Zugdidi. The museum is located close to University of Havana, near Plaza de la Revolución.
Address: Calle San Miguel 1159, esq. a Ronda, Habana, Cuba
Opening hours: 9:30am – 5pm (Tuesday – Saturday); 9:30am – 1pm (Sunday)
Tel: +53 7 8791 412