Key events in Chile’s struggle for Independence occurred in Rancagua and the Museum includes a section devoted to the city’s role in that process.
Estado 685, Rancagua, Chile
Mon-Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-5pm, Sat & holidays 10am-2pm
The O'Higgins Region, of which Rancagua is the capital, is named after Bernardo O'Higgins, the soldier of Spanish-Irish descent who is regarded in Chile as the "father of the nation". After playing a leading role in the country's battles for freedom from Spain, he became Supreme Director of the newly independent nation in 1818.
Before that, however, Rancagua was the site of a major setback for the Chilean forces. In a battle there in October 1814, they were defeated by the Spanish troops in the "Disaster of Rancagua" and O'Higgins and other leaders of the struggle were forced to take temporary refuge in Argentina. The Rancagua Museum, which also covers many other aspects of the O'Higgins Region's history, was founded in 1950.
The two houses that form the Museum's current premises are the only ones to have survived from the time of the foundation of Rancagua in the mid-eighteenth century. Built around internal courtyards, with thick adobe walls and tiled roofs, they are excellent examples of traditional Chilean architecture.
The permanent exhibition includes three key rooms:
In addition, the Museum has an important collection of items relating to the Region's indigenous inhabitants and the different economic activities that take place there, including the agriculture for which it has traditionally been important.