Museo Histórico Nacional
Museo Histórico Nacional
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles73 reviews
Excellent
18
Very good
42
Average
11
Poor
2
Terrible
0

Vincent M
New Orleans, LA2,257 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Solo
I'd best clear up what I am reviewing. The Museo Historico Nacional is actually nine different buildings, but to avoid confusing tourists, the government department responsible for operating them has thoughtfully closed almost all of them to the public. (More info on that at the bottom of this review.). Ergo, this review is ONLY of the Casa del Gral. Fructuoso Rivera.

General Rivera was one of the leading patriots at the time of Uruguay's birth, associated, sometimes cordially and sometimes antagonistically, with Jose Artigad, Juan Lavalleja and Manuel Oribe. Rivera was the founder of the Colorado party, and the first president of Uruguay; he was also responsible for the genocide of the Charrua. He fled Uruguay in 1847, spent six years in Brazil, and died during his return to Uruguay in 1853. In many ways, Rivera paralleled the contemporary US general and president, Andrew Jackson, whose new Democratic Party revolutionized party politics, who like Rivera exerted strong personal leadership and made many enemies, and whose presidency was marred by the persecution of indigenous people.

The Rivera mansion is huge--it doesn't appear to be so from the street, but once inside, each floor holds a dozen or more rooms. Only the ground and 2nd floor are open to the public, but from the central courtyard you can catch a glimpse of the 3rd, and the spiral staircase suggests there's at least one more above that (see photo).

If this were Jackson's Hermitage, the house would be maintained to be as close as possible to its appearance when Jackson was alive. Not so here: there is no attempt to recreate how the house was when Rivera was president. Instead it has been converted into a museum crowded with historical objects in glass cases, and with walls covered with paintings of historical events and personages. (See photos).

If you (a) know a bit about Uruguayan history or (b) can read Spanish, you'll find the vast collection fascinating. In general, if neither of these applies to you, you'll be bored unless you're accompanied by someone who can explain it all to you. The sword of Lavalleja or handguns or Oribe are less interesting if you've no idea who their owners were. (See photos). However if you're either (a) an antique gun enthusiast or (b) a military uniform aficionado, you're in the high cotton in this museum. They've got enough guns to equip a punitive expedition, and a dazzling array of uniforms: mostly colonel and above, but there's the odd graphic of sergeants and riflemen dressed a la Zouaves, etc. To go through everything properly would take several hours: the museum is literally packed full of historical material, arranged in some order: a room dedicated to "the plain citizen Jose Artigas," a room about the Catholic Church in Banda Orientale, a roomful of Rivera materials, another on early 20th century presidents, etc.

There is no admission fee, but days and hours are restricted: Wed-Sun 1100-1645 only. As for any other part of the museum, I'd recommend checking first to see if they're actually open. I believe the ones you can currently see are the Museo Romantica and the homes of Luis Herrera and Juan Zorrilla de San Martin. You might be able to see Casa Quinta de Jose Battle y Ordonez by making a special request. I believe Lavalleja's house has been closed for the last four years. Neither the house of Juan Francisco Giro nor that of Manuel Ximenez y Gomez are open. And most disappointing of all for the average visitor from outside South America, let alone Italian tourists, Garibaldi's Montevideo home is still closed. Sigh!
Written June 3, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Debbie K
Adrian, MI8,771 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2014 • Solo
As a disclaimer, I am writing this from the perspective of a history buff. Having said that, I found this museum to be extremely well done and very much worth the effort to see. And the fact that this is a free attraction makes it a wonderful item to put on your itinerary if you have any interest at all in history.

The first thing to note is that this museum is contained in a beautiful structure in the middle of Ciudad Vieja. From what I was able to ascertain, the building was Casa Rivera, the former home of Uruguay’s first president, Fructuoso Rivera. It has now been expertly renovated as a museum.

As in most of Ciudad Vieja, the exterior, while grand, was less impressive than it should have been due to somewhat old and tired surroundings. However, the interior was a very different story as it was terrifically redone.

The displays were on two floors making use of virtually all of the space in the vast Casa Rivera. The exhibitions were all nicely arranged and very informative. The verbiage on the placards was mostly in Spanish so, like many other things in Montevideo, a working knowledge of the language would greatly enhance the quality of your visit here.

The displays take one through the late 18th century colonial times, most of the 19th Century and slightly into the 20th Century from what I observed. There were elaborations on the country's founding which, of course, necessitated a room dedicated mostly to José Artigas, who is considered the founding father. There were also displays on various other aspects of 19th century Uruguay. There was a revolution near the beginning of the 20th century, for example, that received attention in one of the rooms upstairs. There were several military items on display as well as portraits and short biographies of many Uruguayans who made significant contributions to the nation in that period.

Overall, this museum was extremely well conceived and well executed. For those interested in history, it is worth going out of your way to see this museum. Because it's free, even if your interest in history is marginal, it's still worth taking a walk through the house to appreciate the architecture.
Written August 5, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mary T
Buenos Aires, Argentina2,936 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019 • Friends
In an old aristocratic family home, this museum does a nice job of displaying historical portraits, paintings and personal effects. All signage is in Spanish. No entrance fee. Lockers for your bags. Photography allowed; no flash.
Written July 19, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LMCM111
Perth, Australia670 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Free museum with good historical displays though it taxed our knowledge of Spanish. Worth a quick visit.
Written February 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Elena P
Guadalajara, Mexico4,968 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Couples
The place is nice, need to be curated more and maintained. The people working there had no enthusiasm to be there, and the things were mixed in different rooms.
Written December 21, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jbushman2017
Nipomo, CA486 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2019
This museum includes lots of paintings and artifacts from Uruguays history. Because nothing was in English I can not tell you how much history was actually covered. It appeared to me that there was a rough chronological outline of Uruguays history from 1810 until the 1900’s but not much more. I did not understand nearly enough but still enjoyed the 30 minutes I spent here.
Written January 18, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ASU_DrK
Phoenix, AZ425 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018
The museum has two floors of exhibits open to the public. Mostly consists of well-displayed cases of military memorabilia (guns, swords, uniforms, etc), and numerous paintings of portraits of military leaders. Nothing is in English, but entrance is free and worth a quick look if nothing else (20 minutes tops). Not a destination on its own.
Written April 21, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jantoby1
Chigwell, England425 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2017 • Solo
This is like a family museum, with clothes and household items belonging to a wealthy family, in their home. I liked it, as it had everyday things and some lovely garments and shoes that particularly caught my eye.
Written December 17, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

C H
Buenos Aires, Argentina268 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2017 • Solo
This museum is inside a beautifully restored building that was home to the first President of Uruguay. It contains an amazing collection of artefacts and pictures depicting the history of Uruguay. Lots of military pieces.
There is a considerable amount here, but my Uruguayan history is not good enough to know which were the truly stand out pieces.
All of the labels are in Spanish.
The museum is free to enter - I just wish I knew more in advance to help me understand exactly what I was seeing
Written November 8, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ivor M
London, UK527 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2017 • Solo
This was the home of the first Uruguayan president and now holds a museum telling the history of the country especially the years before independence, the fight for independence and the first decades of that. I learnt a lot. I thought its explanation of the dilemma faced once Spanish rule was no longer clear because of the Napoleonic wars was excellent. It helps to have some knowledge of Spanish.
Written April 8, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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