A tour of some Montevideo museums
To take you through a tour of Montevideo museums, I thought it would be a neat idea to show you them through photos with little text. After all museums are a visual experience, and these particular ones were a highlight for me. They come with a short description. I experienced a rainy day in Montevideo and what better way to spend this kind of a day than exploring inside venues and learning more history? All museum were within walking distance of each other.
The Museo de los Andes tells the story of the 1972 Andean plane crash en route from Montevideo to Santiago, Chile. When it crashed, there were 45 people on board, including the Uruguayan Rugby Team. Sixteen people survived 72 days in the most profoundly extreme conditions of the Andean mountains, many had been severely injured, there was little food, little shelter from the elements and little clothing to protect the survivors from the extreme cold.
Creator of the museum, Jorg Thomsen, knew many of the family members of those who had been on the plane. He wanted to keep the story alive not only to honour those who had lost their lives and those who had survived, but to pay tribute to the vitality of the human spirit.
I personally met Mr. Thomsen when I was there, and I could feel his commitment and passion for the project.
For someone who was new to the creation of a museum, he has created a most profound experience for anyone who visits it, with its artifacts from the crash site, videos, timeline posters and moving letters. Visitors are compelled to look at their own lives and reflect on what is important in life. I think I got more wordy on this museum than I intended, but it shows the impact that this museum had on me.
Museo del Gaucho is a small museum dedicated to the gaucho, the equivalent of our Western Canadian cowboy. Gauchos worked on the huge expanses of ranches, herding cattle, training horses and living very frugally, and probably drinking lots of Mate. Unfortunately there was no translation into English regarding the displays, but the sense one got from the museum, and one which I had read about was concerning the temperament of the gaucho, who lived close to the land and who could always be counted on by others.
Very interesting artifacts of tack for the horses, clothing and gourds for mate. The museum is housed in the Palacio Heber constructed at the end of the 19th century in the French and Italian style; it is in itself worth seeing.
The Money Museum has artefacts from the National Bank of Uruguay.
The Museum of Decorative Arts was in fact the private residence of the Ortiz de Taranco family and is called the Taranco Palace, (construction of the building began in 1908). This private residence was purchased by the state on condition that all the works of art, paintings, sculptures and ornaments would be donated to create a collection of decorative arts. This museum is the result.
The Palacio Salvo building was finished in 1928 and designed by architect Mario Palanti and stands 100 metres high. It was originally meant to be a hotel but that didn’t work out so it was converted into business offices and apartments. Apparently there are a few apartments in the building that can be rented to tourists related to AirBnB.
I took a tour of the building and went to the very top where there were great views of Montevideo. On the way back down we stopped at a floor where our guide told us about a resident ghost.