Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Grassroots of the Pampas

Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Grassroots of the Pampas

Article excerpt

Grassroots of the pampas

"It was the first time a dentist had come to the village, and I was his first patient. There were no facilities for anaesthetics in the village then. I was ten years old and they put me in a chair opposite a hanging skeleton. The skull seemed to be smiling, and I smiled back at it. Then the lady who was helping the dentist said to me, "So that you won't be frightened, I'll play the guitar for you while the doctor is working.'' Seventy-five years later the heronie of this adventure was reminiscing into a tape-recorder and describing what may have been the first appearance of dentistry and music therapy in Castelli, a village in the wet pampa of Argentina, where a regional museum and archive have recently been created.

This region, which bordered on Indian territory until 1820, was inhabited by native-born Argentinians and immigrants, mostly Italians and Basques, who have always had a strong sense of their past and have withstood the impact of the modern world with greater firmness than other peoples in the region. As a consequence, the area was chosen by the Latin-American Archives Association for a pilot project on the collection of data relating to its social history. The idea was to collect systematically all existing documentation in private hands, such as letters, account-books, school exercise books, photos, and films, as well as the kind of eyewitness account quoted above.

The National University of La Plata has also launched an archaeological research project in the same district and taken steps to create a museum there, based on the certainty that many traces of more or less sedentary indigenous populations must survive in this region rich in lagoons. In addition to archaeological specimens, the museum will collect and display objects relating to the farming and stock-breeding civilization which developed in the area following its occupation by populations of European origin, as well as examples of animal and plant life in the local environment.

The execution of these projects, which were launched simultaneously in the middle of 1983, was immediately co-ordinated, although each retains its distinctive nature. This co-ordination led to the creation on 8 August 1984 of the Castelli Regional Museum and Archive. It is not yet open to the public, but an inaugural exhibition has already been held there with marked success. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.