Buenos Aires Travel Planet

Buenos Aires visitor’s guide

History of the Museum of the City


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If you’re staying in Buenos Aires it’s important to visit the museum that captures the history and a little of the magic of the city. The Museum of the City of Buenos Aires is where you’ll find exhibitions and displays of artifacts that represent aspects of Buenos Aires life and past. The Museum of the City itself has an interesting history.

Located in Montserrat neighborhood or San Telmo, as it’s more commonly known, the museum sits in one the most historic parts of the city. Montserrat was the area where the first settlers in Buenos Aires set up their community, which is why the majority of historic buildings such as, Cabildo, are found here. San Telmo, just South of Monserrat, is the more tourism focused section that is also rich in history. As the city expanded out, in the 17th and 18th Century, from the initial settlement, Buenos Aires residents constructed large townhouses along the road Defensa, which is now the oldest street in Buenos Aires.

The Museum of the City of Buenos Aires is actually divided between five different buildings that together make up the Museum. Three of the buildings of the Museum of the City are located on this historic street, Defensa. The narrow cobble stone street lined with colonial houses and other French and English style architectural gems make this place the perfect home for the Museum of the City.

The museum is made up of: the Cherubim House (Casa de los Querubines, Defensa 219), the Elorriaga Heights (los Altos de Elorriaga, Alsina 417/21 and Defensa 185/187), the House of María Josefa Azcurra (la Casa de María Josefa Azcurra, Alsina 455/63) and the Star Pharmacy. Each building has been carefully selected to represent a different period of Buenos Aires throughout the ages.

The Museum of the City of Buenos Aires was created in 1968 but only occupied a temporary building until it was moved to the museum’s current headquarters in 1973. The other buildings that make up the museum were added later on. The Elorriaga and Ezcurra buildings are the only two examples of homes from the 19th Century. The Elorriaga home was constructed in 1812 and the house of Maríá Josefa Ezcurra dates back to the year 1830. These are both being carefully restored to preserve what has been all but wiped out in the rest of Buenos Aires.

One of the forgotten benefits of tourism in Buenos Aires is the protection and preservation laws that have been implemented to protect the architectural heritage of the city. In the last few decades, San Telmo has been the focus of property developers who demolished 19th Century one-storey structures in order to build high-rise apartment blocks. Luckily, the work of the Museum of the City works to raise awareness of the importance of the past and protects the heritage of Buenos Aires.

Take a look at Buenos Aires Travel guide for more information on the history of the city.

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