Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Old Museum at the Seminary

Valparaiso area has only two natural history museums. The Natural History Museum at Valparaiso and the Museo Fonck at Viña del Mar. Both of them have as forebears two school museums started in the XIX century. One by the Sagrados Corazones school, dissapearing at the end of the century in Valpo, and now with some pieces of its collection located in their new premises in Viña, and the second, the Seminario San Rafael Museum still in the same old two story housing behind the current school at the end of Av. Argentina on the slope of the hill facing Santa Elena street.
The museum have the only natural history collections surviving two centuries of earthquakes and fires in the same place. It was inaugurated in 1884 as a gift by the Edwards family in a old house where the famous argentinean intelectual and politician Juan Bautista Alberdi lived as an exile some decades earlier. The original collections of stuffed animals from all the continents including big game from Africa are still like they were set in 1884. It has a large mineralogical collection (photo above) plus some archeological collection (photo below).
This museum is a very old fashion exhibition indeed a showcase of some kind of victorian style of showing natural history artifacts, minerals and animals at the end of the XIX century. This museum require curatorial work and soeme updating. older museum from the old world has done it why the Seminario San Rafael would not do it? Examples, there are many, the closer considering its affiliation might be the example given by the Museo geológico del Seminario de Barcelona. What to do to preserve and update this museum... the question is on....