High up in the beautiful Elqui Valley, this Museum is devoted to the life and work of one of the two Chilean poets to have won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Gabriela Mistral 759, Vicuña, Chile.
January-February: Tues-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat & Sun 10:30am-8pm; March-December: Tues-Fri 10am- 5:45pm, Sat 10:30am-6pm, Sun & holidays 10am-1pm
Gabriela Mistral, as she later became known, was born in the town of Vicuña in 1889. The child of a teacher and a dressmaker mother, she herself became a teacher but soon also began to write the poems that were to make her famous.
The Museum opened in 1957, but its origins date back to 1935 when a group of prominent local residents, led by the mayor, agreed to create a Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center. When its public library opened a year later, Gabriela Mistral herself donated over 900 books from her personal library.
The current Museum, built on the vegetable garden that was the site of Gabriela Mistral's old house, was inaugurated in 1971.
The Museum's first collection comprised principally objects and portraits gathered by the poet's sister, Emelinda Molina. Since then, other donations have significantly extended its collections.
Of particular importance was the donation made in 2007 by Doris Atkinson, the niece of Doris Dana, Gabriela Mistral's friend and the executor of her will. This included the books Mistral had kept until her death in the United States in 1957 as well as documents, photographs and personal objects.
In addition to original manuscripts, unpublished typewritten documents and unfinished works, the Museum holds letters written by the poet. Other exhibits include her prizes, furniture she used as a teacher and during her diplomatic career and photographs of her last visit to Chile in 1954.
The Mistral Bibliographic Collection includes all the Nobel poet's published work as well as publications about her life and literary work.
A diagonal line that cuts across all the Museum's premises connects it with Mistral's tomb higher up the Elqui Valley in Montegrande. Incorporated in 2010, it represents Chile (as a long thin country), the Elqui Valley (as a zigzag groove) and Mistral (pain understood as a scar on the soul).