This Museum in the historic center of Punta Arenas provides an insight into the life of the city’s wealthy inhabitants during the boom years of the early twentieth century.
Magallanes 949, Punta Arenas, Chile.
October-April: Wed-Mon 10:30am-5 pm, Sun & holidays 10:30am-5pm; May-September: Wed-Mon 10:30am-2pm, Sun & holidays 10:30am-2pm
The Magallanes Regional Museum opened in 1982 in what was formerly the home of the local Braun-Menéndez family. However, its history dates back to 1969 when the Patagonia Museum was founded, thanks to the work of Roque Esteban Scarpa, an academic and writer from Punta Arenas.
The current Museum brings together the Patagonia Museum’s valuable archaeological and natural science collections with the furniture and other objects still contained in the Braun-Menéndez family mansion when it was donated to the state in 1984.
The mansion was designed in the neoclassical style by French architect Antoine Beaulier, who also worked on other important buildings in Punta Arenas. It was built between 1903 and 1906 and, with an area of 2,212 square meters, has two floors, an observation tower and a basement.
In line with the customs of the time, many of the building materials as well as the furnishings were imported from Europe.
The mansion was very advanced for its time and had central heating and double glazing against the Magallanes Region’s cold winters as well as hot running water in all the bathrooms. The mansion, with its gardens and their centuries-old trees, was declared a National Monument in 1974.
The Museum’s 14 rooms are divided into two themes:
The Museum also has a Heritage Photographic Archive, with more than 40,000 images illustrating everyday life in the city from 1895 onwards, and a Heritage Library that includes the journals of explorers and travelers as well as personal letters and other documents of great historical value that belonged to Mauricio Braun.
The painting “Scenes with Geese” which hangs in the dining room is the work of Spanish artist José Ruiz Blazco. His son, Pablo Picasso, often helped his father put the finishing touches to his paintings and, in this case, is thought to have worked on the legs of the geese.