Women, Indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants are part of the Casa Historica de la Independencia.
Women, indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants and youth are part of the comprehensive renovation project of the Casa Histórica de la Independencia in Tucumán.
The Casa Histórica Museo Nacional de la Independencia set out to build a script that, without losing sight of the historiographical contributions on the political period of Argentina’s independence, incorporates a social and critical look at the period that allows a dialogue between the past and the present. It seeks to make visible problems that for a long period were forgotten, announces the Government of Argentina.
As of Tuesday, December 27, the public will be able to visit the new main exhibition, and tour the renovated rooms.
“Afro-descendants, indigenous peoples, women, children, slavery, popular sectors and servitude, are words that had no relevance in the original script of the period until very recently and now constitute nuclei of meaning,” said the Argentine government.
For this, dialogues were established with the different communities and with other museums and archives in order to reposition the museum as a living and updated institution based on the educational and cultural needs of an increasingly complex society.
Rethinking Independence and its Meanings
The premise was to discuss the official narratives about Independence as well as the interpretations about heritage. This triggered a series of questions about the symbolism that the Historic House embodies.
Is it a space for historical memory or a historical device for colonial narration? This last question gave way to other reflections:
What story of Independence will the new script narrate? What is meant by independence? What does it currently mean for Argentina to be an independent country?
The Making of New Memories
The new exhibition intends that visitors can interact and experience the exhibition from a participatory, critical and innovative experience, getting involved in the themes proposed through new technologies and didactic resources, with accessibility as an integral part of the tour.
A Renovated Historic House
As of December 27, the public that visits the Casa Histórica de la Independencia in Tucumán will encounter a renovated historic house without losing sight of the history of Argentina’s Independence. The remodeled site incorporates a social and critical perspective on the period.
Before its opening to the public, the Minister of Culture of the Nation, Tristán Bauer, toured the new facilities along with the lieutenant governor of Tucumán, Sergio Mansilla; the National Secretary of Heritage, Valeria González; the national director of museums, María Baldasarre; the director of the Historical House – National Museum of Independence, in Tucumán, Cecilia Guerra, and authorities of the province.
“Shortly after taking office, the Historic House was one of the first museums I visited because our independence is absolutely central. At that time, with great sadness, I saw the state the museum was in, which is why we set out to work, even in a pandemic, to change that situation because these walls keep the memory of our peoples,” recalled the Minister of Culture.
During his speech, Bauer apologized to the representatives of the indigenous peoples present at the event.
“We apologize that you were not included before. With the May Revolution of 1810 and the Independence of July 9, 1816, a new stage in our history began. But our story began much earlier. That is why I deeply value the presence here today of representatives of the original peoples and I confirm our commitment to continue showing those lives and struggles,”
Minister of Culture of Argentina, Tristán Bauer.
The National Secretary of Heritage, Valeria González, led the academic and public management of the comprehensive renovation.
“It is with enormous happiness that we present this significant step that we embarked on…to put our museums back on their feet,” said González.
Reviewing & Repairing History
In dialogue with Télam, the art historian, curator, researcher and secretary of Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture of the Nation, analyzed whether it is possible to de-patriarchalize heritage and rethink a public institution.
Valeria González detailed that lines of action that are both reparative and critical of the canon are being developed in Argentina. These efforts aim to review and repair the institutionalized history of Argentine heritage through an inclusive lens, with a gender perspective and with an indigenous and afro-descendent tradition.
González spoke with Télam about the need to revisit the way in which Argentina’s museums were originally consolidated, their collections were built, specific policies such as awards, acquisitions, and other public initiatives were led and ask,
“Is there a possibility of rereading what has been written, and intervene with the demands of the present by assuming a critical tradition?”
Visibilizing Historical Actors
“This new look is part of the critical museography to rethink the independence process, give it a social look and incorporate some actors who were historically invisible in the history of the Nation and also in the history of this house, such as the indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, children, and women,” declared Cecilia Guerra, the director of the Casa Histórica de la Independencia in Tucumán.
Improving Accessibility through Technologies
Guerra also highlighted the improved accessibility and new technologies of the renovation project:
“Now all the rooms have their texts in Braille, there are 3D reproductions, we have also worked with a team of specialists on autism spectrum disorders so that they feel comfortable visiting the House. And the project for 2023 is to include QR codes, all the information in Argentine sign language and, in this way, be able to reach all our audiences and make the House increasingly accessible and inclusive,” Guerra said.
Building an Inclusive Museum for All
The museologist Ana Carolina Oliva is part of the team that carried out the museological contents of the renovation of the permanent exhibition.
“We want an inclusive museum so that people feel part of it, comfortable and identified. For this, we work with the team of the national directorate of museums of the Ministry of Culture, with those of exhibition design, accessibility and conservation. We are very happy and proud to be able to end this year like this, which has been a lot of work and with great hopes for next year,” said the specialist.
The new exhibition of the Historical House of Independence has six completely renovated and equipped rooms. Five of them are dedicated to the history of the Independence process and the sixth is used to receive schools and visiting families.
Visitors can watch the episodes of the animated audiovisual series Lola y Choko, created by the Casa Histórica team, and interact with the new video game based on this series that tells the adventures of the Battle of Tucumán.
The curators of the exhibition, Valentina Mitrovich and Juan Pablo Bulacio, toured the House together with the Minister of Culture of the Nation. One of the rooms has an interactive historical timeline that show concurrent events in the Río de la Plata, in America, and in Europe.
There is also a moving model of the geography of Tucumán throughout history. Tristán Bauer reflected on the heroism of the Tucuman people by asking Manuel Belgrano to stay.
“Otherwise the story would have been completely different,” he said. A painting by María Remedios del Valle together with another by Manuel Belgrano demonstrate this. “It is the first time that a black woman appears on the walls of the Historic House,” the curators point out.
María Remedios del Valle, Mother of the Nation
She was born in Buenos Aires in 1766. Of Afro-descendant origin, she was part of the popular and subaltern sectors of the colony. Together with her husband and her children, she was part of the Army of the North in the first expedition to Upper Peru, under the command of Manuel Belgrano, details the Ministry of Culture of Argentina.
For her courage and bravery, Belgrano conferred on her the rank of Army Captain. She participated on the battlefront in the care and attention of soldiers in the victories of Tucumán and Salta (1812 and 1813), and in the defeats of Vilcapugio and Ayohuma (1813).
She lost her family in combat and, once the war ended, she returned to the city of Buenos Aires, where she suffered destitution. Her figure was subjected to silence for a long time in the historical account of the heroes of the nation. María Remedios lived her latter days in material poverty and deprived of her official recognition, until the Chamber of Representatives of the Province of Buenos Aires granted her the position of cavalry sergeant major in 1829.
Later, the governor of Buenos Aires, Juan Manuel de Rosas, decreed her cavalry major rank and increased her pension from 30 pesos to 216 pesos. Out of gratitude, she changed her name to Remedios Rosas.
She died on November 8, 1847, without having received the recognition she deserved in life.
The Museo Casa Histórica de la Independencia
The museum is located in the old house where the Independence of the United Provinces of South America was declared on July 9, 1816.
The colonial house that houses the Museum was built at the end of the 18th century and underwent modifications over time. The Salón de la Jura, where Independence was declared, is preserved in its original state. The museum has four patios, a cistern and native trees of the region. In 1941, the house was declared a National Historic Monument.
Currently, the Historical House-National Independence Museum has more than 700 pieces in its collection. The Act of the Declaration of Independence is also a fundamental part of the patrimony that is completed with furniture, weapons, objects for personal use, crockery, ornaments, objects of Catholic worship, religious paintings, portraits, coins, plaques and commemorative medals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The library has classic texts, the latest historiographical debates, museology, conservation, restoration, literature and magazines. It also has more than 500 volumes, covers various topics such as ecclesiastical history, history of the Wars of Independence, history of the Civil Wars, art, sugar industry, economy, traveler’s stories, Jesuit chronicles, journalism, etc. , having as its main theme the province of Tucumán.
It is considered the largest collection of sources and bibliography from the 18th and 19th centuries on the history of Tucumán. It also has copies of the first newspapers of the province of Tucumán.
To learn more, visit the Casa Historica Museo Nacional de la Independencia.
Congreso 141, San Miguel de Tucumán, Tucumán
Open from Tuesday to Sunday at the following times:
9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
3:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Sound and light show from Thursday to Sunday with prior reservation at reception:
From Tuesday to Sunday:
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