Tracing Chilean History and Culture at Santiago’s National Archives

If you're looking to boost your historical and cultural knowledge of Chile, the Salón Los Conservadores (Curators’ Room) in Santiago’s Archivos Nacionales (National Archives) is the place for you.

Salón Los Conservadores (photo by Hannah Schiff)
Salón Los Conservadores (photo by Hannah Schiff)

The Salón Los Conservadores has a frequent rotation of exhibits. Víctor Godoy, head of public relations for the National Archives, says that the intention of the Los Conservadores is to “educate people about distinct cultural aspects of Chile’s history.” Recent exhibitions have included Los Arquitectos de la Republica (Architects of the Republic), a photographic journey through Chilean architecture, and Historia y Enseñazas: Anatomía en Chile (History and Teaching: Anatomy in Chile).

The National Archives (photo by Hannah Schiff)
The National Archives (photo by Hannah Schiff)

The National Archives works with outside organizations such as the Ministry of Public Works, the Ministry of Health, and the University of Chile to compile detailed information on these unusual but compelling topics.

The wealth of information within the Salón Los Conservadores is complemented by free entrance and a diversity of exhibitions which make for a rewarding visit. It provides genuine insight into the country’s history and the central location is easily accessible.

Development of the National Archives began in 1844, and the final law that officially completed and established the Archives in Santiago was passed in 1929. “There was a decision-making process over what to do with the space in the Archives that is now the Salón Los Conservadores", says Godoy. "A lecture hall or even an art gallery were potential ideas for the salón.”

It was eventually decided that the room would be used for cultural-historical focus, utilizing resources from the National Archives and collaborating with other organizations. "It is important to have diverse and unique themes in such an emblematic place in Chile", says Godoy. "The exhibitions often overlap thematically with certain parts of the year. For example, during March, which is National Women’s Month, the salón has an exhibition related to the history and culture of women in Chile.”

Chilean Architects exhibition (image courtesy of the National Archives)
Chilean Architects exhibition (image courtesy of the National Archives)

As is the case with any country, learning more about Chile's distinguished past can seem an intimidating task. The existence of places such as the Los Conservadores plays a key role in tracing Chile's roots all the way back to pre-colonial times.

Strolling through Bellas Artes, via Cerro Santa Lucía, and ending up at the Los Conservadores is not only a great way to spend an afternoon, but also an engaging and cost-free way to become further acquainted with the historical and cultural lineage of Chile.

Salón Los Conservadores
Archivo Nacional Histórico, Miraflores N° 50.

Monday - Friday: 9:30am - 5:30pm.
Free admission

Metro Santa Lucía
 (Line 1)
Official Website

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