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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Trip to the Evita Peron Museum

Evita's Last public appearance 
by Kara Bijesse

I am not going to lie, history and politics have unfortunately never been of great interest to me, although I wish they were. My negative attitude towards museums comes from being dragged from one museum to the next on family vacations. Museums to me meant long hours of boredom, when my idea of a vacation was lying on a beach with a piƱa colada. I can honestly say that today was the first time I have sought out a museum due to my own curiosity on a subject. Could I finally be growing up? … Probably not, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Anyways, coming to Argentina, I knew nothing about Argentine history. Overtime, through class and talking to locals, I started learning about Peronism and the Peron family. Normally, as I stated above, I would learn what I needed to for class and probably forget it after my exam, but this time it was different. I could not figure out if Peronism and the Peron family, which still plays a major role in today’s government, had had a negative or positive impact on Argentina as a whole and when I would ask, I found I always got a slightly different answer.

Argentina constitution
Evita Peron particularly sparked a curiosity in me that I have never experienced concerning history or politics. On one side, Evita is portrayed as a saint, whom as the first lady of Argentina fought for female suffrage and implemented programs to help the poor and unemployed. She was adored by the people of Argentina and was seen as a symbol of beauty and strength. In another realm, there are others who say that Evita and her husband Juan Peron were fascists and anti-sematic and that Evita’s motives where selfish, disregarding the wellbeing of the people.

So, today my curiosity on the subject led me to the Evita Museam in Palermo Chico. The museum is a mansion built in beginning of the twentieth century in honor of Evita’s life and accomplishments as a political figure. The museum shows pictures and artifacts from her life, starting with her struggle with poverty as a child, progressing to her acting and singing career and then finally onto her life with Juan Peron and political impact on Argentina. Throughout the museum, her fancy clothes and jewelry, which she used to portray her perfect image, are on display as well as videos and images of her public appearances and speeches.

Collection of Evita's dresses
Writing on the wall acknowledges the controversy that I explained above by saying that some people call her the “the ambitious unscrupulous woman”, but for the most part I felt the museum promoted her as a great icon for Argentina. So I left the museum with even more questions than I had come with. How is a woman with so much controversy around her name and her family still idolized and admired by so many? I definitely have more research to do on my own, but overall the museum was an awesome experience. The museum left me with a yearning to learn more for once and that is actually a really cool feeling.

Hasta luego!
-Kara Bijesse


GSE Spring 2012 - Buenos Aires, Argentina
University of Belgrano

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