Travel Guide: Chile’s Museum of Memory and Human Rights
October 17, 2018
I was inspired to create this guide during a visit to the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos in October 2018. I hope it’s useful for future visitors, and those who may never get a chance to see it.
The museum is architecturally stunning, both inside and out. But more importantly, the stories within it are crucial to understanding Chile. I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Santiago, truly one of the city’s must-sees.
Visiting the Museum
Ground Floor: Welcome Desk, Store, Global Human Rights exhibit
At the welcome desk, they’ll tell you a bit about the museum and also note your country of origin.
Recommendation: If you don’t speak Spanish, definitely get the audioguide. Most of the videos and exhibits are in Spanish, so you won’t be able to fully appreciate the museum without one.
This floor commemorates human rights violations and truth commissions from around the world. It provides a nice context for the museum and the rest of the visit. The individual photos that make up the world map collage are powerful to see.
1st & 2nd Floors: Permanent Exhibits – September 11, 1973, the years of dictatorship and the fight for liberty
These two floors are an interactive showcase for September 11, 1973 and the ensuing years.
September 11, 1973 is explored from all angles, such as President Salvador Allende’s final radio address, video of the bombing of the Presidential Palace by the air force, photos and newspaper articles.
The pain of the ensuing years is brought to life beautifully, but hard to stomach at times. The museum tells the story of the people who were detained, tortured, ‘disappeared’ and their families. It also explores the social and political backdrop, both domestic and international at the time.
3rd Floor: Temporary Exhibits and additional multimedia exhibits
When we visited (Oct 2018), half the third floor was an exhibit entitled ‘Indigenous Memories’.
This exhibit showcased the human rights violations suffered by Chile’s many indigenous peoples during the dictatorship, as well as the stigma and discrimination they still face in today’s society.
Chile is home to many indigenous peoples, from the Rapa Nui of Easter Island to the Mapuche of southern Patagonia, the only indigenous peoples that never fell to Spanish colonization in all of Latin America. This exhibit showcased what they’ve gone through in an interactive, visually stunning way.
Tuesday – Sunday: 10am-8pm (January & February)
Tuesday-Sunday: 10am-6pm (March through December)
Closed Mondays and holidays (1 January, 1 May, 18 September, 19 September, 25 December)