Welcome to Puerto Madryn’s newly-restored Oceanographic and Natural Sciences Museum.
Man has always looked to the sea to broaden his horizons, to sustain him, and to provide him inspiration. In return, rational man seeks to be the steward of the sea, studying and preserving it. This relationship becomes all the more apparent as one steps into Puerto Madryn’s newly-restored Oceanographic and Natural Sciences Museum.
Raising the Sea
Chalet Pujol is one of the more iconic structures in Argentine Patagonia’s Chubut region. Situated in a corner that invites a panoramic view of enchanting Puerto Madryn, there is no better building to house the Oceanographic and Natural Sciences Museum than this palace. Nicknamed “Madryn’s Castle”, the neo-classical building was one of the very first buildings raised in the city, back in 1917. Today, the building has been refurbished with modern trappings that not only help preserve its architecture, but also provide outstanding backdrops for its new collection of species.
Entering the doors of the museum, the visitor is greeted with the reopening exhibition entitled “The Man and The Sea”. This multi-room exhibit sheds light on the various relations the people of the region have had with their particular ecological environment. The expansive illustrations cover the whole area of the Valdes Peninsula.
The exhibit also tackles the history and exploration of Patagonia in general, and of Madryn in particular. Here, visitors get too see how immigrants have helped improve the ecological diversity in the Chubut geography.
There are also exhibits mentioning the various methods of artisanal fishing developed by the natives and the colonists, along with other techniques such as that of dyeing hides.
But of course, what kind of Oceanographic and Natural Sciences Museum would it be without an amazing collection of preserved species? One of the most striking exhibits showcase calamari specimen, including a full-fledged giant squid in a glass case!
There are also various species of fish and invertebrate animals, along with various types of sea mammals. There are also birds, from sea-faring ones to flightless specimens. Through these collections, the museum describes the littoral zone of the surrounding sea and shows off its diversity. This zone helps support the region through both resource production (fishing) and tourism (wildlife mapping and diving).
Aside from its focus on the sea, a separate room is also reserved to give the geological and botanical history not just of Madryn but also the surrounding Patagonian shore and steppe.
Art, Inside and Out
The tasteful arrangement of exhibits, coupled with the external grandeur of the Chalet Pujol architecture, makes this artful location a must-see. The palace is a cultural provincial heritage, providing a beautiful vista of the gulf through its lookout. The spirit of the sea can be felt both from within and from outside its walls, while it stands as a monument to the sea-going culture of the port region.
The Oceanographic and Natural Sciences Museum is easily accessible at the intersection of Domec García Norte and General Mosconi. It is best visited in conjunction with the Madryn Ecological Center and the Madryn Modern Art Museum.
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