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Cuban-born, Colorado- raised Maria Garcia Berry with her doll, Milagro. Photograph by Scott Eide

A New Exhibit Puts Cuban Heritage on Display

Prominent Coloradans with Cuban roots will temporarily donate personal treasures to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science starting this month.

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Maria Garcia Berry left her birthplace, Cuba, under stressful circumstances. It was 1962, and as one of 14,000 unaccompanied children sent to the United States under Operation Pedro Pan, the eight-year-old made the trek without her parents. During a pre-flight contraband search, the Cuban military police tore the heads off all her dolls—save one. The survivor, Milagro, accompanied Garcia Berry to Miami and, when her parents rejoined her four months later, to Denver, where the family settled. Now, 56 years later, Milagro will help Garcia Berry share the island’s culture during ¡Cuba!: The Exhibition, opening at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on October 26. Curated by the American Museum of Natural History, the traveling exhibit includes a replica of the country’s limestone caves and invites visitors to play Cuban dominoes. For a local twist, ¡Cuba! (which runs until January 20, 2019) will feature portraits of notable Coloradans with Cuban roots, like former Denver Mayor Guillermo “Bill” Vidal and Garcia Berry, founder of a public affairs firm. All of them also loaned personal items that represent their Cuban heritage. Garcia Berry, of course, chose Milagro—whose name means “miracle” in Spanish.

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