Love the striking builing that houses the museum of memory

Santiago’s Museum of Memory and Human Rights

Lovely old buildings covered in graffiti greeted me at the metro station
Lovely old buildings covered in graffiti greeted me at the metro station
The Mueum of Memory and Human Rights lies across from a park filled with museums at metro Quinta Normalº
The Mueum of Memory and Human Rights lies across from a park filled with museums at metro Quinta Normal

The best way to spend a rainy day in Santiago is by visiting one of its many museums that are dotted all over the city. The Museum of Memory and Human Rights is a chilean museum dedicated to commemorate the victims of Human Rights violations during the Military Regime that took place  between 1973 and 1990. I thought this would be the ideal place to learn a bit about the Chilean history and maybe get to understand them a little better.

The deserted courtyard of this striking museum
The deserted courtyard of this striking museum
My cappachino arrived with more cream than coffee!
My cappachino arrived with more cream than coffee!

Arriving early morning the place was quite deserted and peaceful. I decided to sit outside a bit and just enjoy the peace and tranquility of the courtyard so ordered a cappuccino and took a seat.  What arrived was a small coffee topped with load of cream, enough sugar to wake me up for the day!!

Walking into the museum I am greeted by a wall covered in photos displayed like a world map. These photos were taken all over the world and depict different human rights violations that happened in different countries. Armed with an English audio guide I started my tour of this museum and its striking images.

A lovely place to relax and get myself ready for what I know is going to be a very emotional experience inside the museum
A lovely place to relax and get myself ready for what I know is going to be a very emotional experience inside the museum

The first exhibition area shows the events that took place on September 11. Here I got to watch a short film of the troops surrounding “La Moneda” (the Presidential Palace) and bombing it while listening to Salvador Allende’s final speech before killing himself. This set the tone of the whole museum that is filled with disturbing images and stories of what went on between 1973 and 1990.

Arriving at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights
Arriving at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights
Love the striking builing that houses the museum of memory
Love the striking builing that houses the museum of memory

I continued on to the exhibition about the victims of violence. Here I learned the shocking fact that among the victims there were also many children who suffered in different ways. Some witnessed the kidnapping of their parents, some were detained along with them, and some were even tortured, killed or just “disappeared”. According to the Truth Commission, 150 minors (under the age of 18) were executed for political reasons or killed in protests, 39 “disappeared” and 1,244 children were imprisoned and tortured.

Halfway through the museum I got to the candlelight memorial. Here I sat looking out over a huge wall filled with pictures of people who were killed or who simply “disappeared” during this time. Sitting within this area I was surrounded by electric candles which offered a peaceful atmosphere for people to remember and reflect.

View of the street opposite the museum, looking in the direction of the park
View of the street opposite the museum, looking in the direction of the park
A church tucked away and almost hidden by the huge colonial building around it
A church tucked away and almost hidden by the huge colonial building around it

This museum also houses memorabilia of torture devices used during the Pinochet dictatorship, letters to family members by prisoners in detention centers, newspaper clippings and even testimony from survivors.

After my visit to the museum my mood matched the grey rainy weather outside. It is quite shocking getting to not only see but also hear about what really went on during the period of Chile´s dictatorship. I never realized it was this bad in Chile. I assume that most of the time the rest of the world only finds out about the severity of atrocities committed after the fact.  I do hope that this is the case as if the world knew about it while it was going on the fact that someone didn’t then try and help Chile is just to horrible to think about.  

Love the detail on the churches in Chile
Love the detail on the churches in Chile
When leaving the museum it looked like another rain session awaiting
When leaving the museum it looked like another rain session awaiting
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14 comments

    • Thanks Ruth. Usually when I think of war and other political atrocities committed in places I do forget that there were children involved. But I never expected that children would actually be part of the group of tortured people. It was quite shocking and a real eye opener to what depths human kind can sink.

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    • Thank you. It is always shocking to see how cruel people can be to each other. I think memorial museums like these are a very important tool in showing the wold what really went on. It might make people think twice before committing these atrocities again!

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    • Thanks Lisa, glad you are enjoying it!! My exploration of Santiago has been very interesting and fun filled. Santiago has such stunning scenery and art that it is hard to walk down a street here without stopping to take a photo of something.

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