The Gregorio Luperon Museum is one of the top ten tours while visiting Puerto Plata, and for very good historical reasons.
The museum’s two-story, Victorian style home is the place where this DR national hero spent his last days, under the care of his sister, who owned the home. General Luperon was born in Puerto Plata on September 8th, 1839. The Dominican Republic had its independence 5 years later, on February 27th, 1844 ( it was occupied by Haitian leaders since 1822 ).
In 1861, Dominican general Pedro Santana signed an annexation treaty, giving back control of DR territory to Spain, which took the land from the native Taino tribes since 1492.
At the early age of 22, Luperon was outraged and his sense of nationalism led him to oppose the Spanish regime. At one point he had to escape and fled to the United States for protection. He later returned to take part in the uprising of Sabaneta, a failed attempt at recovering independence. He later joined Gaspar Polanco and other generals in what became the Dominican Restoration war that drove the Spanish away from the island for good.
The Museum displays life during the 19th century across its several rooms (8). The first exhibit starts at the lobby area of the building, with a display of clothing, framed photos and a kitchen area with utensils, a cement stove, an oversized cooking mortar and charcoal bag. The flooring is a replica of the original one in the house, a clay-colored Spanish tile with decorative motifs trimming. A contemporary styled threshold is exquisitely combined with white ceilings that contrast with the red tiling of the floors.
Exhibit room one is preceded by a nicely designed hallway with historic memorabilia on display behind glass windows, and shows the history of General Luperon and his role played in the defense of the island’s independence. A white-cast statue of the general in his prancing horse is set against a corner poster of the DR horizon that inspired him on his quest for freedom.
The room gives way to a larger area that has life-sized board-mounted prints of General Luperon, General Pedro Santana, Jose Antonio Salcedo, Gaspar Polanco, Pedro Antonio Pimentel and Benito Moncion. These men are the main actors of the Restoration war of 1863. Exhibit room two displays the life of Luperon when he was younger, and pictures of the countryside where he used to work at the Jamao al Norte community of Puerto Plata.
The third room shows documents and memorabilia of the annexation, including a picture of Santana. The second floor of the museum shows several important pieces such as a magnifying glass, a crucifix, and a mason used by the general. There is also a 200 year old grand piano used by Luperon’s daughter as a teacher, still in pristine condition.
The museum exhibits show an impeccable, precise style, and the staff seems to be well trained and managed. In addition to the exhibition rooms, it also has an events hall with audio system, conference room, cafeteria and museum store. It is managed by a board of trustees from prestigious institutions of the city. The local POP airport bears the name of Luperon, also one of the most beautiful towns of Puerto Plata.
Gregorio Luperon Museum
Calle 12 de Julio #54, Puerto Plata
Phones: 809-261-8661 / 809-261-9028
Open Tuesday through Sunday. From 9:00am-5:00pm
Sources & Bibliography:
Dominican Restoration War – Wikipedia