One of the most traditional museums in Argentina is devoted to reviving natural history through its halls and activities accessible to all visitors.
This is one of the most traditional and also one of the most ancient museums in Buenos Aires
. We paid a visit to the Argentinian Natural Science Museum, in Parque Centenario. A sunny afternoon, walking down the city as usual, we entered the remote past: from an avenue in the Federal District right into the geological past, the origin of life, the dinosaurs and everything around us today.
Prepared to spread and make available the knowledge discovered by science about the past of our planet and life on it, this museum opens its doors to people of all ages.
The Bernardino Rivadavia Argentinian Natural Science Museum got its name from the Argentinian hero who first inspired the project that led the First Triumvirate to invite the provinces to gather material in order to make up a collection that would be displayed at a natural history museum. Thus, the project of this museum had its origin practically at the same time our country emerged.
Of course the museum had to grow and move a lot before it adopted its present shape. The initiative did not become a reality until 1823, aided by Rivadavia, who was a minister then. After being housed by the Santo Domingo Convent, in the Block of Enlightenment
and Monserrat Little Square, it was moved to its present and final venue in 1937.
The building housing the museum today was specifically built for such purpose. Its decoration features details based on the local flora and fauna. The owls that flank the windows on the second floor represent wisdom.
Upon entering the venue, we saw the Geology room. We found everything from rock and crystal fragments to scale models of the mountain systems in our country, glass cabinets packed with information and real meteorites that fell on Argentinian soil. In the background, there is a planetarium that may be accessed by paying an extra ticket.
After crossing the aquarium (featuring several living specimens) and the sea life room, we reached the Malacology room. This science studies mollusks. Finally, we entered the Paleontology room.
There is no doubt that this is the most attractive area on this floor. Its high ceilings and large windows provide the ideal space to see the dinosaur skeletons at full splendor. Herbivores, carnivores, aquatic and land animals, we could almost see them walking among us and stretching up their long necks. Likewise, there is one corner in this room where children may dig up their own fossils.
A last room before going up to the third floor contains original specimens of fossil mammals that dwelled in the territory of our country.
The third floor shelters many other sensations: arthropods, the plants’ world, amphibians and reptiles, present day mammals, history of the museum, sounds of nature, compared osteology. There is plenty to discover and learn.
It is interesting to see how the museum staff has worked to make scientific knowledge accessible and interesting at the same time. Not only is this about the reconstruction of skeletons (a very impressive image) or the glass cabinets packed with information or the panels with the sounds of nature visitors may discover and recognize. Everything has been arranged so that we understand that science is not something abstract and isolated from us. Science lets us learn, explore and understand the world around us everyday, the wonders we usually fail to see.
Visiting the Natural Science Museum means discovering much more than a museum.