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Nook Orientation

You have opened the eighth of thirteen QR codes located throughout the gallery.

You’re standing in front of the third of four small defined display spaces called nooks. Each serves as an introduction to the exhibit section. This section is called “Immigration Stories.”   

Nook Space Description

Along the left wall of the nook is a six-and-a-half-foot long, handmade raft in a clear glass case. On the sides and behind the raft is a large, backlit photo of an empty, blue ocean in early dawn. Projected onto the wall behind the object is a 13-minute video with music and lapping water sounds, of groups of refugees leaving Cuba. In front of the Cuban raft is a rail with a signature object label and touchable. You can choose to listen to the label or opt to continue to the object description followed by a touchable description. 

Refugee Boat:
Signature Object Label Text

In 1994 over 30,000 Cubans risked death traveling to Florida in homemade boats or rafts. This boat was used by two young refugees who were escaping Cuba’s economic crisis. They were part of an ongoing migration of Cubans. The greatest numbers arrived after the 1959 Cuban Revolution. However, Cubans have been migrating to the United States since the early 1800s.  

Refugee Boat Description

Raft is three feet wide, almost six and a half feet long, and two feet tall. It has a rectangular shape with one rounded short end. Made of layers of Styrofoam, wood, textiles, plastic, and other found materials, the foam was carved into the contours of a small boat’s hull with benches on each end of the interior. Cloths wrap the boat exterior likely to reflect the sun. Plastic sheeting lines the interior. A wooden rail is attached to the top of each long side by wire and bolts through the side to wooden planks on the boat’s bottom. This boat held two men and traveled about 215 miles from Cuba to within 35 miles of Miami before the U.S. Coast Guard rescued the men 

Color photo of moldy, worn raft covered in white cloth; two wooden oars wrapped to top with rope
Raft used by Cuban balseros. Around 1992. Loan from Anacostia Community Museum, Gift of Humberto Sanchez 
Raft used by Cuban balseros. Around 1992. Loan from Anacostia Community Museum, Gift of Humberto Sanchez 

Touchable Label Text & Description

You can choose to listen to the touchable label or opt to continue to the touchable description

Touchable Label Text

Smell the scent of the ocean. 

 Place yourself on the long journey of the balseros. (Cubans refugees who travel by boat are balseros.) What do you feel? Where does your mind take you? 

Touchable Description

On the left side of the rail in front of the raft is a two-inch tall scent canister. Push the lever to release the scent of the ocean. 

Directions to Next QR Code

QR Code 9 is about 19 feet away, across the aisle on your left. QR code 10 is ahead on the left

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