National Maritime Museum inaugurates exhibition, “150 Years of Maritime Transport, a legacy of CSAV heritage”
The exhibition, which is now open to the public, offers a display of outstanding heritage from the collection of Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV), which recently celebrated its 150th anniversary.
For centuries, maritime transport has been one of the activities that has facilitated cultural exchange, playing a fundamental role in economic growth and sustainable development, especially in such an essentially maritime nation as Chile.
This cultural exchange has always been linked directly with art, which is the main focus of the new exhibition at the National Maritime Museum (MMN), entitled “150 Years of Maritime Transport, A Legacy of Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores Heritage.” The display showcases heritage works from CSAV, the oldest shipping company in Latin America, which played a role in Chile’s territorial integration and fostered its connectivity with the rest of the world.
The exhibition, which is being presented on the second floor of the museum, brings together cultural heritage artwork that highlight the merchant marine and its contribution to the country’s history, with a special focus on the role of Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores in the industry’s development. The pieces on display include artworks such as “Vapor Imperial,” an oil on canvas dating from 1895, “Valparaíso: El Puerto visto desde la Cueva del Chivato,” an 1890 lithograph by Carlos Fuchs, and a printed textile that portrays the “Combate de los buques peruanos el Huáscar y la Independencia con los buques chilenos Esmeralda y la Covadonga” from 1879, among others.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy a display of naval models, one of the most popular expressions of maritime culture, with six shipyard models of CSAV ships from the late 20th and early 21st centuries, namely the Palena, Chacabuco, Malleco, Lircay, Pucón and Aconcagua. This exhibition is accompanied by audiovisual recordings that will invite visitors to explore the history of the shipping company, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2022.
Speaking about the exhibition, MMN Curator Eduardo Rivera, who was in charge of curating the display, commented, “This exhibition is the perfect opportunity to further the museum’s inclusion—hopefully in a more lasting way—of the merchant marine as an expression of our history and identity as a maritime nation. It also serves as a springboard for expanding the collections and documentary sources through which we preserve the history and heritage of the many companies that contributed to the effort to connect Chile with the world through the Pacific.”
Rear Admiral Andrés Rodrigo, Director of the National Maritime Museum, added that “one of the purposes of this museum is to foster maritime awareness in the nation, with the understanding that it goes beyond mere knowledge of the sea’s existence to include an attitude towards the maritime sphere that recognizes its value and aspires to promote everything related to it.”
Regarding CSAV’s contribution to heritage and the cultural legacy, the company’s CEO, Óscar Hasbún, affirmed, “We want our history and heritage to be shared with and become familiar to those who visit this museum every day, and so we wanted to make available some of our artwork that tells the story of the history we have built in Chile over the years.”
The inaugural ceremony took place on the afternoon of Thursday, March 30 and was led by the General Director of Merchant Marine and Maritime Territory, Vice Admiral Fernando Cabrera, and CSAV CEO Oscar Hasbún with naval and civilian authorities in attendance, along with representatives of companies linked to the port, former CSAV employees and special guests.
To complement the exhibit, prior to the inauguration a similarly-named colloquium was held that featured a panel consisting of CSAV CEO Óscar Hasbún; Master Mariner Bruno Madina; a student from Piloto Pardo Merchant Marine Professional Institute, Rangi Tepano, who is also the first female merchant marine officer cadet from Rapa Nui; and MMN Curator, Eduardo Rivera. The panel members conversed about the merchant marine’s cultural heritage and its role in Chile’s maritime history. A recording of the event is available at https://youtu.be/9_iySdpMCmo