Museo Evita. Eva Duarte de Perón, known universally as Evita, was the wife of populist president Juan Domingo Perón. She was both revered by her working-class followers and despised by the Anglophile oligarchy of the time. The Museo Evita shies from pop culture clichés and conveys facts about Evita's life and works, particularly the social aid programs she instituted and her role in getting women the vote. Knowledgeable staffers answer questions enthusiastically.
Photographic Evidence. The route through the collection begins in a darkened room, where 1952 footage showing hundreds of thousands of mourners lined up to view their idol's body is screened. Family photos and magazine covers document her humble origins and time as a B-list actress. Upstairs there are English-subtitled film clips of Evita making incendiary speeches to screaming crowds: her impassioned delivery beats Madonna's hands down.
Death Becomes Her. The final rooms follow the
First Lady’s withdrawal from political life and her death from cancer at age 33. A video chronicles the fate of Evita's cadaver: embalmed by Perón, stolen by political opponents, and moved and hidden for 17 years before being returned to Argentina, where it now rests in the Recoleta Cemetery.
Fabulous Clothes. Evita's reputation as fashion plate is reflected in the many designer outfits on display, including her trademark working suits and some gorgeous ball gowns.
Tips and Trivia
Laminated cards with just-understandable English translations of the exhibits are available in each room and at the ticket booth.
Take a post-museum coffee or lunch break at the onsite café (its outside tables are shaded by classy black umbrellas). There's also a small museum gift shop.
The gray-stone mansion dates from 1909. It was purchased in 1948 by the Fundación de Ayuda Social Eva Perón (Eva Perón Social Aid Foundation) and converted into a home for single mothers, to the horror of the rich, conservative families living nearby.
The Evita myth can be baffling to the uninitiated. The museum's excellent guided visits shed light on the phenomenon and are available in English for groups of six or more, but must be arranged by phone in advance. Lafinur 2988, 1 block north of Av. Las Heras, Palermo, Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, C1425FAB. 11/4807–0306. www.museoevita.org. 60 pesos. Tues.–Sun. 11–7. D to Plaza Italia.