Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences
The Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences is like any good natural history museum—full of skeletons, replicas of extinct animals, and fossils. Why go to the Buenos Aires Natural Science Museum and not just wait until you get home again? The exhibits here include an insight into the unique Antarctic environment in the south of the country, both above and below water. And the paleontology exhibit of dinosaur skeletons is one of the finest in all of Latin America, both in quality and quantity. This museum is great for children, of course, but is also for people looking for a fun way to pass an afternoon out of the hot Buenos Aires sun. While there, make sure to look for the recently opened ocean-themed bar/café, in which a giant replica shark swims over tables glowing with blue light.
Open every day except holidays: 2pm-7pm / Entrance AR$3
Tel: 4982-0306 / www.macn.gov.ar
Museum of Hispanic Art/Museo de Arte Hispanico
The heavy, wooden front doors immediately suggest to the visitor the rather serious nature of the art inside. Religious paintings, colonial era artifacts, triptychs, a section devoted entirely to the Virgin Mary—this museum is for people truly interested in art, Catholicism, or South American History. The rather solemn displays, however, should not deter visitors; the museum is a wonderful way to appreciate the rich past of not only Argentina but all Latin America through its art. The building that houses the museum, a white colonial mansion, was formally the home of the famous Argentine architect Martin Noel.
Open Tues. to Sun. 2pm-7pm / Entrance AR$3 pesos, Thurs. free
Tel: 4327 0272 / www.museos.buenosaires.gov.ar/mifb.htm
MALBA – Buenos Aires’ Museum of Latin American Art
The MALBA, as it is called, focuses on Latin American art from the early 20th century to the present and houses works by over 270 Latin American artists. The modernity of its unique architecture prepares the visitor for the modernity of the art inside and the progressive attitude of the museum towards the role of art in the community. If you want an insider’s perspective, take one of the guided tours through the temporary or permanent collection. The art is wonderful to admire on its own, but the history of the paintings and the museum itself adds depth to the experience as a whole, especially if you are not a connoisseur of modern, abstract art. If you are traveling with children, consider looking into the MALBA’s excellent educational programs.
Open Thurs. to Mon. 12pm-8pm, Wed. 12pm-9pm, Closed Tuesdays / General entrance AR$14
Tel: 4808-6500 / www.malba.org.ar
A must see for visitors to Buenos Aires who were drawn here by its history or its aesthetic. Opened in 2002, 50 years after her death, the museum includes Evita’s clothing, artifacts from her life, copious photographs, and, of course, a detailed history of her life and her works. There are also quotes on the wall of all the rooms, providing each room with its own theme or message from Evita’s life. Tours are available in English (along with many other languages) and are a good way not only to get a more detailed picture of Evita’s life but also to stave off the strange feeling of going through a dead woman’s possessions. After going to the museum, you can start your own interesting debate about whether it will ever be possible to talk about the “real” Eva Peron instead of the legend—a truly Argentine conversation.
Open Tues. to Sun. 2pm-7:30pm, Mon. closed / Entrance AR$5
Tel: 4807-0306 / Website under construction: www.museoevita.org
National Museum of Fine Arts
Located in a beautiful, columned building on Av. Del Libertador, this museum houses both European and Latin American artists in its permanent collection, including names you will recognize—Degas, Monet—among lesser known but equally interesting artists. The rooms in which the art is displayed provide a surprisingly intimate setting within the grandeur of the structure, making it feel at times more like an intimate gallery than a national museum. Depending on how much time you have, this museum can be a large part of your day or can be a wonderful stop as you stroll along, enjoying the parks and near by Recoleta cemetery.
Open Tues. to Fri. 12:30pm-8:30pm, Sat. and Sun. 9:30am-8:30p, Closed Mondays / Entrance free
Tel: 4803-8817 / www.mnba.org.ar
Museum of National History
Located on Calle Defensa in the expansive Parque Lezama, the National History Museum is a great way to end your walk through the main artery of historic San Telmo. Founded in 1889, the museum was originally dedicated only to the history of the capital, but has since expanded. If you are interested in learning about the Revolución de Mayo or the war of independence—or just love history—through art and artifacts, this museum provides both information and ambience. The building itself is an old mansion that was declared a national historic monument in 1997.
Closed for restoration until April 2008
National Museum of Decorative Art
This museum is worth a visit for nothing else than the lovely café situated on the cobbled drive that separates the museum building from bustling Av. Del Libertador. Formally owned by some of Argentina’s wealthiest families, the building and its contents were donated to the city to be made into a museum in 1935. Since then the collection of furniture, miniatures, paintings, etc., has expanded to include an eclectic mix of Argentine and European artifacts of style. Those seeking an idea of how the wealthy have lived in this city of the truly wealthy and truly poor will appreciate the elegance of the house and the stories its contents tell. Feel like you can’t look at decorative art for too long? The museum is a perfect place to stop during an afternoon walk down Libertador, a wide street that itself is like a monument to Buenos Aires’ wealth.
Open Tues. – Sun. 2pm-7pm, Mon. closed / Entrance AR$2 pesos, free on Tuesday
Tel: 4801-8248 / www.mnad.org
Participative Science Museum
This museum is not particularly Argentine, it is just particularly fun. If you are traveling with children, this can be a great place to bring them and let them loose. As this summer’s motto says, it is “Forbidden NOT to Touch” in the museum. After hours in an art museum, this may be just what your children—and you—need. The museum is accessible to everyone, parents and children alike, and the classes are excellent, although most are in Spanish.
Summer hours: Tues. to Sun. 3:30pm a 7:30pm, Mon. closed
School year: Tues. to Fri.: 10am-5pm, Sat, Sun, and Holidays: 3:30pm-7:30pm
Tel: 4807-3260 / www.mpc.org.ar
Museum of the Tango Nacional Academy
Not the only tango museum in the city, this museum holds its own. It is divided into three parts (not including a café and store). The first describes the history of tango from the 1850’s until the present, the second showcases artefacts of the creators of tango (including Gardel), and the third provides visual images of dance and music throughout history. For anyone who is interested in more than just dancing the tango once or twice and calling it an Argentine day, this museum gives real insight into the past of the city’s signature dance.
Tel: 4345-6967 / www.anacdeltango.org.ar/museo.asp
Presedential House Museum (Casa Rosada)
Situated at the end of Avenida de Mayo, the Casa Rosada is impossible to miss. It announces its presence with a bold coating of pink paint and contends for power with the often protester-filled Plaza de Mayo. The museum is dedicated to the history of the presidents of Argentina, a topic which can be a bit dry unless you are an enthusiastic history buff. If not, try one of the guided tours to spice up the busts of dead presidents. It is worth a visit, if for no other reason than to be inside the Casa Rosada itself, which has hosted Evita Peron and so many other iconic Argentines.
Mon. to Fri. 10am-6pm, Sun. 2pm-6pm / Entrance free
Tel: 4344 3804 / www.museo.gov.ar
Museum of Carlos Gardel’s House
Situated in Almagro, and thus a little out of the way of many tourists, this museum is nonetheless worth a visit by any true enthusiast of tango. While few of the items displayed in the house are actually from when Gardel lived there, the reproductions are authentic and of good quality. They provide an excellent insight into the way in which Gardel lived and wrote his now famous tango scores. Pictures of Gardel are tastefully included but don’t by any means overwhelm the authenticity of the house. This museum allows visitors to understand not only Gardel’s life more fully, but that of many Argentines who lived in the same epoch. It is a good way to experience the city out of the traditional tourist centers and go farther into the geographical heart of the city.
Mon-Fri. 11am-6pm, Sat. and Sun. 10am-7pm, Closed Tuesday / Entrance AR$3
Tel: 4964-2015 / www.museos.buenosaires.gov.ar/gardel.htm
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