One of the main reasons for going on a trip with kids is the possibility of having them learn more about the world and awaken their curiosity for new cultures and realities.
And Patagonia, from its first inhabitants to the present day, makes a fascinating and fun history lesson.
For you to make the most of your family trip to Chilean Patagonia, we recommend to include these seven museums in the itinerary.
1- Maggiorino Borgatello Museum (Punta Arenas)
Salesian missionaries founded this museum in the 19th century after they arrived in the city of Punta Arenas to evangelize the area.
Today, this Salesian museum houses the cultural and ecological heritage of the region.
In 1984, the museum grew from 700 square meters to 1,700 m2, an extra space which allowed to accommodate the entire collection, which is divided into four sections: ethnology, flora and fauna, archaeology, and history.
What can you find at the Maggiorino Borgatello Museum?
The exhibit includes crafts and utensils used by the indigenous people like the Onas, Tehuelches, Yaganes, Alacalufes, as well as documents, and objects belonging to Salesians priests, animal fossils, and a collection of personal items that belonged to Father Alberto De Agostini, the most important explorer of the region.
Past visitors praise the museum’s rich display of the history of Magallanes region before and after its colonization.
2- Municipal Historical Museum (Puerto Natales)
This museum displays remains of the foundation of the city of Puerto Natales and the settlement of the region.
The themed rooms exhibit crafts and artifacts of daily use by the Kawésqar and the Aonikenk aboriginal cultures, which they used in their hunts and gathering of food.
The exhibit includes document records by colonizers and artifacts from the end of the 18th century to the mid-19th century of German and British origin.
There is also a photographic registry of the 1930s in the region and a historical record of the Frigorífico Puerto Bories cold storage plant opened by Sociedad Explotadora de Tierra del Fuego, a livestock company founded in 1893.
The museum building is modern although it reproduces some features of the traditional architecture of the first English pioneers that colonized the area.
3- German Colonial Museum (Frutillar)
Located in a beautiful park property of Austral University, this museum aims at recreating the living conditions of the German colonists who arrived at the shores of Llanquihue Lake.
Main attractions include the bell tower, the mill, and the Blacksmith's House. At the manor, visitors learn about the private life of German farming families, there's a large room, a music room, bedrooms, bathrooms, a large kitchen with original kitchenware and other objects.
Families can also enjoy the beautiful gardens that provide a magical surrounding.
4- Museum of the Churches of Chiloé (Chiloé)
The island of Chiloé is renowned for its beautiful churches built with native alerce wood. Many of them were declared World Heritage by UNESCO; they make some are the oldest wooden constructions found in the island.
Since the beginning of the 17th century, the island watched the arrival of several religious orders. First came the Jesuits and the Franciscans; the characteristic architectural style remained the same, with little variations.
In 2002, the Cultural Foundation of Friends of the Churches of Chiloe was founded, headquartered in a building in Ancud that dates back to 1875. Years later it became the Museum the Churches of Chiloé, which introduces locals and tourists to the culture of the island through an exhibit consisting of photographs, remains rescued from churches that have been restored, models and much more.
It is an excellent start for adults and children alike traveling to Chilean Patagonia to understand how valuable the history of these worship temples is to the history and culture of Chiloé.
5- Pablo Fierro Museum (Puerto Varas)
Twenty years ago, Puerto Montt artist Pablo Fierro began building an art registry of the region by collecting paintings of old houses in the area (Osorno, Valdivia, Frutillar, Puerto Varas, etc.).
The original aim of the museum was to do urban planning preservation. However, it’s evolved to house all kinds of antiques that go back to the time of the German establishment in the area.
Why your children will love this museum in Chilean Patagonia?
Firstly, it looks like a house taken straight out of a fairy tale. Second, kids can touch everything that’s on exhibit.
Besides Fierro’s work, several historical objects help imagine what life was like in the past. And the artist himself guides visitors through the museum most times.
The museum is on the waterfront of Puerto Varas at the shores of the Llanquihue Lake. It’s impossible to miss, given it’s a major tourist attraction of the city.
Its striking facade includes old cars and an entrance shaped like a cuckoo clock.
6- Regional Museum of Magallanes (Punta Arenas)
It's known as one of the best museums in Chilean Patagonia. Here, visitors can understand and appreciate the cultural diversity of the Magallanes region and Chilean Antarctica.
Its interior houses an extensive collection of furniture and objects that represent the golden Magellan era, and a historical exhibition which gives an account of the process of human settlement in the territory.
The museum has interactive activities, workshops and support material for educators as well. If you want to know more, check the following link.
7- Martín Gusinde Anthropological Museum (Puerto Williams)
This museum's ethnographic collection preserves the natural and cultural heritage of the Magellan archipelago.
It is the only museum in the city and is the southernmost in the world. Its goal is to preserve the heritage of Navarino Island, in particular.
It is ideal for children, as it offers guided tours, art workshops, movies and an educational virtual area and interactive modules on display.
It’s named in honour of the Austrian scientist who lived among the Selk'nam and Yaganes communities to study the indigenous cultures that inhabited Tierra del Fuego before the Colonization period.
Another museum attraction is the Sterling House, the oldest building in the area. The construction was expressly moved by sea to be part of the museum and was declared National Historic Monument in 2003.