Most tourists visiting Puerto Rico do not know about its African heritage.

For many years, the subject was omitted from the island’s history books. But there’s now a museum in Old San Juan that celebrates Africa’s cultural influence on the island. Paintings, artifacts, documents and photos help tell the story at El Museo de Nuestra Raiz Africana (the Museum of Our African Roots), located in Plaza San Jose on Calle San Sebatian.

The exhibit includes a display drums that deliver the African-derived beats of Bomba and Plena, along with local Afro-Puerto Rican art, such as the masks used in the music festivals of the historically black town of Loiza. These objects are examples of how the roots of  modern festivals, customs and even cuisine can be traced back to Africa. Orlando Abreo, guide of the museum, explains how Puerto Ricans are becoming more conscious and accepting of their African heritage.

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