10th anniversary of House Museum: The realization of a dream

12 de April de 2018

In Object of the Month in May, we will know the work carried out during a decade since Eduardo Frei Montalva House Museum opened to the public, from the museographic design of the historical family home to the current House Museum dedicated to the History and Heritage of the 20th century.

For 40 years, the #683 Hindenburg residency was inhabited by the Frei Ruiz-Tagle family. Nowadays and for ten years, turned into House Museum, visitors have walked through the rooms and corridors of this National Monument (2005), discovering the diversity of stories and heritage objects that are protected by its walls.

In 2007, with the structural work at the entrance to of the future House Museum ready, the Chilean costume known as tijerales (topping-out ceremony) was celebrated. Thus, the teams in charge started to put the heritage objects inside the house. Photographs show the team of architects, builders, museographers, etc., who prepared the property to turn it into House Museum and, in this way, open the heritage space to the community.

The opening ceremony

On May 12th 2008, a large number of guests arrived to witness the EFM House Museum inauguration, headed by Eduardo Frei Montalva’s family, Irene, Isabel Margarita and Eduardo; his granddaughter Magdalena Frei (House Museum Director), friends of the former President such as Gabriel Valdés (Minister of Foreign Affairs of his government) and Patricio Aylwin (former President of the Nation and party comrade; there were also government authorities, such as President Michelle Bachelet (during her first mandate, 2006-2010)

After the speeches by Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, Magdalena Frei Larraechea, President Bachelet and Monsignor Alejandro Goic, Frei invited the President to make the first guided visit through House Museum, a trip back in the 1960s.

Since then and for ten years, EFM House Museum has developed different programs, activities and approaches to bring to the public eye this property – declared a National Monument by the National Monument Council in 2005, within the framework of the care of its heritage collection, historical archives management, organization and dissemination of extension activities and Educational Program.

A visit through EFM House Museum

The tour through House Museum, made by heritage experts guides, exhibit a collection of more than 350 heritage objects, linked to the life and work of Eduardo Frei Montalva, including original furniture, female and male costume from the 1960s, numismatics, Latin-American and European decorations, a painting collection from the 19th and 20th century and even fragments of moonstone. It should be noted that one of the most memorable tours through House Museum was in July, 2012 when Federico Sánchez and Marcelo Comparini recorded a TV show of for the famous program City Tour, making known on television the importance of this heritage space.

On the other hand, to guide the visits of students and teachers, ten years ago House Museum designed its Educational Program. This is aimed at educational establishments throughout the country and at all pedagogical levels. From pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade (secondary education fourth grade) they have specific resources for teachers, such as didactic guides, an introductory video of Frei Montalva’s government milestones, Touch Interactive, a 20th century time line, among others.

Furthermore, during this decade (2008-2018) House Museum has been dedicated to the permanent safeguard, organization and cataloguing of the historical documents of the President through three archives aforementioned, photographic – with more than 8,000 images, with photographs in black-and-white and in color, slides, contacts, among others. Historical-documentary – with more than 9,000 documents among letters, treaties, speeches, laws, enacted of laws and others. And audiovisual – with over 26 digitalized hours, among pannings about the Chilean Land Reform, first mockups of the subway in Santiago, streets and faces of Santiago in the 1960s and more.

Extension area of House Museum: Workshops and activities for all

In addition to guided tours through House Museum, during this decade, diverse activities have been carried out annually, including discussions and talks about the history of Frei Montalva’s government and about important milestones, such as the Chilean Land Reform, as well as free workshops related to the 20th century, the heritage collections of House Museum and the interests that President Eduardo Frei Montalva had during his life. This way, we highlight the Chess Workshop, Retablos Workshop, Heritage Objects Workshop, Literature Workshop, History and Appreciation of House Museum Painting Collection Workshop, Ecoimagination for Children, Trip to the Moon Workshop, among others.

The film series occupied a special place in the annual billboard covering different topics of the 20th century, from the great wars to science fiction, and house museum exhibit them to the public for free in its air-conditioned multimedia room. Filmic offer that is possible thanks to the different agreements with cultural institutions, such as Goethe Institute and French Institute in Chile.

Added to this are the travelling exhibitions in Santiago and in regions through different school and higher education establishments (public and private), as well as cultural centers, with photographs and visual reproductions about Frei Montalva and his government, such as the Chilean Land Reform (Development for the land: Frei Montalva and the Land Reform), the visit of painter Olswaldo Guayasamín (Guayasamín in Chile, 1969) and the commemoration of the 50 years of the former President’s government (Vision and Revolution: 50 years of Frei Montalva’s government)

A space open to the public

Since day one, House Museum is part of key dates in the Cultural circuit of Santiago, such as Midnight Museums – museums of the country open their doors for free until 12:00 am – Chile’s Cultural Heritage Day, Heritage Day for children, dedicated to celebrate heritage buildings of the city and the Science and Technology Festivity, organized by the Explora Conicyt program. The calendar also highlights the Arts Education Week (AEW), an event organized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) together with Mineduc (Ministry of Education) and Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry, which invites educational establishments to celebrate and reflect on artistic education in cultural environments, instance in which House Museum offers tours and the resources of the Educational Program for free, as well as workshops and especial activities.

Therefore, keeping memorable anecdotes and a great patrimonial work, House Museum celebrates its 10th anniversary with free guided tours throughout May and special activities with drawing lots and shows in the framework of a month dedicated to national heritage. In this Object of the Month, as a tribute and historical review, we are offering a collection of images that summarizes part of this decade and the path toward the realization of this dream known as Eduardo Frei Montalva House Museum.


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