Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos
If you are visiting Santiago, you are probably aware of Chile’s sordid past; the dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet that lasted from 1973 and 1990. Talking with any Chilean about this time can evoke strong feelings, both negative and positive, so if you are at all interested in finding out more information, visit the Museum of Memory and Human Rights. The Museum was inaugurated by then President Michele Bachelet on January 11th, 2010. Michelle Bachelet, who was a victim of torture herself during the dictatorship laid the first stone for the museum built to commemorate the victims of human rights violations that occurred during the civic-military regime led by Augusto Pinochet between 1973 and 1990. In the museum are memorabilia of torture devices used during the Pinochet dictatorship, letters to family members written by prisoners jailed in detention centers, newspaper articles, and testimonies from survivors, as well as a philosophical examination of human rights. Each room in the museum’s three stories is labelled with a name.
Room 1: “Human Rights, universal challenge”
Room 2: “Military Coup of September 11th, 1973”
Room 3: “End of the Rule of Law: A new institutionalism”
Room 4: “International Condemnation: The dictatorship crosses the line”
Room 5: “Repression and Torture”
Room 6: “The Pain of the Children”
Room 7: “A Demand for Truth and Justice”
Room 8: “Absence and Memory”
Room 9: “Fight for Freedom”
Room 10: “Return to Hope”
Room 11: “Never Again”
Your Visit to the Museum
To explore the entire museum, you could spend 1.5-2.5 hours, depending on how in-depth you look. The museum is open Tuesdays-Sundays from 10:00-18:00 hours. In the summer months, from January 2nd-March 2nd, the museum opens at 10:00 and closes at 20:00 hours. There is no entrance fee for the museum. If you are a non-Spanish speaker, Audioguides are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Portugese, and Mapudungún (the language of the native Mapuche people), and this feature costs $2.000clp (~$4.00US). The person attending the front desk does speak English and can assist you with buying and using the audio guide. As you walk through the rooms, every few items of artifacts and clippings are tagged with a number that corresponds with the audio guided tour, so it is easy to follow along and cohesively understand the history in English.
How to Get There & Surroundings
When you have finished your visit to the museum, end your tour in the coffee shop Cafetería Azul located right outside the main entrance to the museum, and enjoy a coffee or beverage to relax and process the complex history of Chile. The staff here do not speak English. Touring the museum during the weekdays ensures a less crowded experience than on the weekends. The museum is located directly at the Quinta Normal metro station, located on the green line, line 5. Also right at this metro station is a beautiful park to visit before or after your trip to the museum. Although these two locations are extremely tourist friendly, the Quinta Normal neighborhood is not the safest for tourists, so don’t wander too far outside these areas.
This museum is a wonderfully made exhibit to what Chile suffered under its dictatorship. If you have the time, visit the museum to gain a better understanding of Chile’s complex history and people.