To understand the idiosyncrasy of the Argentine people, their culture and traditions, without a doubt you have to understand their immigration. And it is precisely in this museum dedicated to all these people who decided to leave their home countries to try their luck on the Argentine soil, where you can see first hand its important!
This museum is located in the building occupied by the former “Hotel de los Immigrantes”, a site destined to receive the immense number of foreigners who arrived in the country from the end of the 19th century until well into the 20th century. The museum aims to present to the public the experience of migrating in its sections of travel, arrival, insertion and legacy. Introducing Argentina to those years and why it was chosen by millions of people, from different places like Europe, Asia and Africa as their new home.
Here you will see a large number of historical documentation, photographs, films, models, contemporary testimonies and objects of daily use by those migrants. Although the jewel of the collection are the striking log books of all immigrants who arrived in Argentina. You can even check the digitized list. If you are from Spain, Italy, as well as another European nation, it is very likely that you will find with your last name, a relative who travels like that in Argentina, in search of “La América” in those gigantic ocean liners!
The Immigrant Hotel emerged as a need for the Argentine state to provide assistance and shelter to newly arrived immigrants to the country during the first years of the twentieth century. Many of them arrived in the country without resources, without knowing how to speak Spanish and only with the job. Here all the immigrants who arrived in the country should sleep the first nights, while their papers were regularized and the health authorities verified that they were healthy. This building was one of the first built in reinforced concrete in the city and respected all the rules of Hygienism of the time: tiled walls, large windows to ventilate, wide corridors and stairs for easy cleaning.
But despite its name, this was not a hotel to rest, the routine here was very strict, at six in the morning the wardens woke the guests and organized breakfast in turns of a thousand people. Then the women took care of the laundry and the children while the men processed their placement in the work office. Everyone could freely enter and leave the Hotel, lunch was served at noon, whose menus varied between soup, stew with meat, stew, pasta, rice or stew, and at three in the afternoon the snack for the children. From six o’clock dinner shifts began and at seven o’clock the bedrooms opened. During the day courses were offered on the use of agricultural machinery, housework, there were also lectures and projections on Argentine history, geography and legislation.
Throughout its history, around one million people stayed in their rooms. The hotel operated until 1953 as its function ended along with the end of the great migratory waves and the end of the voyages of the great ocean liners.