Tours and Activities:
Gauchos for a long timePablo EtcheversPablo Etchevers
We visited the Ricardo Güiraldes Criollo Museum and Park and saw that the traditional Argentinian spirit is more alive than ever both inside and outside the venue.
The Ricardo Güiraldes Gaucho Museum and Criollo Park is in the City of San Antonio de Areco. It was founded and built by the government of the province and it opened in 1938. It takes the name of Ricardo Güiraldes to honor the novel Don Segundo Sombra, published in 1926.
To the Museum, Stranger!
“If you want to know the work of Güiraldes, the story of Don Segundo Sombra and how rural people think, you’d better go to the museum named after the writer. You will be surprised once inside. Then, come back and I will treat you to a grappa in a gaucho bar”, said the man at the kiosk of the main square in San Antonio de Areco while he was showing us some historical pictures of the Argentinian gaucho.
We went there and were surprised to find a unique place in which everything seemed to be still and yet there was life inside. There were at least twenty tourists on a Saturday getting information and visiting every one of the rooms and checking their items.
The museum is separated into rooms that have different names. Some of them are Room Ricardo Güiraldes, Room Ricardo Güiraldes II, and the Gaucho’s Room, the Estanciero’s Room, the Writers’ Room, Room Alberto Güiraldes and Room Adelina del Carril, apart from the pulpería (local store), the little chapel and the park that can also be visited when touring the museum.
Breathing History and Tradition
The Gaucho’s Room, the Estancieros’ Room and the Writers’ Room get applauses from visitors at once. Different objects, items of clothing, silverware and period books including the complete collection of texts by Güiraldes can be found in the venue.
The Ricardo Güiraldes Rooms reflect how the first silversmith settled in Buenos Aires at the end of the XVI century. A similar handicraft to the one in Upper Peru was developed in this area in the XVII and XVIII centuries. There were many Spanish and Portuguese silversmiths.
When Argentina was organizing itself as an independent nation, cattle breeding began to be intensified. Thus, the symbols of the Argentinian country appeared, one of them is the gaucho.
Various items of silver as well as representative paintings decorate the walls of the other rooms. Rural labor, countryside themes, horseback rides, bonfires, mate rounds and other images summarize perfectly the countryside feeling.
These paintings are the work of Uruguayan Pedro Figari, who met Ricardo Güiraldes' father and after a long friendship, they ended up being part of the Güiraldes family furniture.
Much More to See
The other rooms complete the huge museum. Room Alberto Güiraldes is a tribute to Ricardo’s cousin, the painter, who shared his great love and passion for the Argentinian gaucho. He was able to capture this perfectly in his paintings and illustrations of the time.
Another room that calls the attention of visitors is the one dedicated to Ricardo Güiraldes’ wife, Adelina del Carril. The room has an important portrait of her who, apart from being his wife, was a faithful friend and guardian of the artistic work of the brilliant writer.
The music, the dancing, the singing, the paintings and other artistic work, apart from literature, can be felt while touring around the museum. These may have been the feelings experienced by those who have taken care of it, still do and will keep an eye on it every day of the year in the future, as if it was their own home.