Museo Casa Gardeliana is a small house located in the Manrique neighborhood of Medellín converted into a museum that is dedicated to tango music and the life and works of tango musician Carlos Gardel.
Carlos Gardel (1890-1935) was a French Argentine singer, writer, composer and actor who was one of the biggest superstars in the history of tango music. Gardel tragically died in Medellín in a plane crash in 1935.
Even if you know little about Gardel and tango music, you likely have heard his popular song Por Una Cabeza, which was included in several movies including The Scent of a Woman, True Lies and Schindler’s List, among others.
Note the above photo is inside Museo Casa Gardeliana in Medellín.
And here’s Por Una Cabeza in Schindler’s List:
Museo Casa Gardeliana
Museo Casa Gardeliana is a colorful house located in Manrique along one of the Metroplus bus lines. The museum is full of artistic representations of Carlos Gardel, memorabilia and posters.
Inside the museum there are a number of displays with details about Gardel and tango music and Gardel’s influence throughout the world. Unfortunately, all these displays are only in Spanish.
Museo Casa Gardeliana is directed by the Pedro Nel Gómez House Museum Foundation.
In addition, the museum cultivates tango music through educational, recreational and artistic actions. This including tango classes held at the museum for children and adults, exhibitions related to the tango theme and academic activities.
Also, the museum participates in the annual International Tango Festival of Medellín, which will be on June 18 to 20 in 2018.
Furthermore, the museum is used as a location to host artistic, social and cultural groups in the city.
In addition, the museum has a small bar that sells beers and sodas and a few snacks. And there are many tables available to sit.
Entrance fee: the museum is free to enter. But the museum also accepts voluntary donations.
History of Museo Casa Gardeliana
Museo Casa Gardeliana was founded by Argentine Leonardo Nieto in 1973. Because of a history of tango in the area, Manrique was the neighborhood where the founder decided to establish this museum.
Since its foundation, and until 2012, Museo Casa Gardeliana was the scene of many concerts and dance shows that for nearly 40 years enriched the city’s nightlife and art. This museum helped promote enthusiasm among lovers of tango in Medellín.
And in 2002, the museum was declared an architectural and cultural patrimony of the city of Medellín.
More About Carlos Gardel (1890 – 1935)
Carlos Gardel was a French Argentine singer, writer, composer and actor born on December 11, 1890. In addition, Gardel is considered to be one of the most prominent figures in the history of tango.
Gardel reportedly started his singing career in bars and at private parties. In addition, he sang with Francisco Martino and later in a trio with Martino and José Razzano.
In 1917, Gardel created the tango-canción with his own rendition of Pascual Contursi and Samuel Castriota’s Mi noche triste. The recording sold 10,000 copies and was a hit throughout Latin America.
Gardel went on tour through Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Colombia, as well as making appearances in Paris, New York, Barcelona and Madrid.
He was so popular that he reportedly sold 70,000 records in the first three months of a 1928 visit to Paris. As his popularity grew, he also made a number of films for Paramount in the U.S. and France.
At the height of his career, Gardel tragically died in an airplane crash at Olaya Herrera Airport in Medellín on June 24, 1935. He became a tragic hero mourned by millions throughout Latin America.
Others who died in the crash included the pilot Ernesto Samper, lyricist Alfredo Le Pera, guitarists Guillermo Desiderio Barbieri and Angel Domingo Riverol and several business associates and friends of the group.
Gardel was originally buried at Cementerio San Pedro in Medellín. His remains were exhumed after a few months. And Gardel’s body was taken from Colombia through New York City and Rio de Janeiro before being taking to Argentina.
Finally, Gardel’s body was laid to rest in La Chacarita Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Also, there is statue tribute to Carlos Gardel located outside one of the entrances to the Olaya Herrera Airport in Medellín.
How to Get to Museo Casa Gardeliana
Museo Casa Gardeliana is located in the Manrique comuna of Medellín. The museum is located east of the popular Jardín Botánico botanical gardens.
The easiest way to get to Museo Casa Gardeliana is via the Medellín Metro. The museum is located a few minutes-walk from the Gardel Metroplús station that is on Line 1 of the integrated Metroplús bus lines.
You can connect to the Line 1 Metroplús at the Industriales metro station on Line A.
Or you could take the metro Line A to the Hospital metro station and Museo Casa Gardeliana is located a minimum fare 5,600-peso taxi ride from this metro station.
In addition, some taxi drivers in Medellín will know where Museo Casa Gardeliana in Manrique is located. If not, give the driver the museum address below.
In addition, it’s normally pretty easy to catch a taxi in the street in front of the museum.
Address: Carrera 45 # 76-50, Manrique, Medellín
Phone: +57 4 444 2633 option 2
Hours: Monday to Saturday: 9 am to 5 pm
Outside the museum there are some street graffiti tributes to Carlos Gardel and tango.
Museums in Medellín
On the Medellin Guru website, we have looked at 17 different museums in Medellín:
- Museo de Antioquia – the most popular museum in Medellín, worth visiting. It’s best known for a collection of art of Medellín-born artist Fernando Botero.
- Medellín’s Museo de Arte Moderno (Modern Art Museum) – worth a visit with an intriguing mix of exhibitions located in a striking building.
- Parque Explora – Medellín’s popular interactive science museum and aquarium. It has over 300 activities and the largest freshwater aquarium in South America.
- Jardín Botánico – Medellín’s free botanical gardens that is also considered a museum with over 1,000 different living plants on display.
- Planetario de Medellín – Medellín’s Planetarium and space museum that is very popular and worth seeing, particularly with kids.
- Museo El Castillo – Medellín’s beautiful Gothic-style castle that is a museum.
- Museo Cementerio San Pedro – a cemetery that is also a popular museum in Medellín worth visiting. It also has a church with many beautiful stained-glass windows.
- Museo Casa de la Memoria – a museum dedicated to honoring the victims of urban conflict in Medellín and Colombia and is worth seeing to better understand the city and country.
- Museo del Agua – the popular Medellín water museum.
- Casa Museo Otraparte – a hidden gem in Envigado consisting of a museum, cultural space and café dedicated to the life and works of Colombian philosopher Fernando González.
- Museo Universidad Antioquia (MUUA) – a Medellín museum located on the University of Antioquia’s campus with a huge collection of nearly 40,000 archaeological and natural history pieces.
- Museo Casa Gardeliana – a museum located in Medellín that is dedicated to tango music and musician Carlos Gardel.
- Pedro Nel Gómez Casa Museo – a museum located in Aranjuez that is dedicated to the life and works of important Colombian artist Pedro Nel Gómez who is best known for his extensive work as a muralist.
- Museo Etnográfico Miguel Angel Builes – a hidden gem museum in Medellín dedicated to showing the cultural diversity of indigenous and ethnic groups in Colombia.
- Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture – Medellín’s palace in El Centro is one of the most photographed buildings in the city. It’s considered a museum by the city of Medellín but there aren’t very many exhibits to see inside.
- Museo Entomológico Piedras Blancas (MEPB) – an insect museum located at the Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas, which is an ecological park located in Santa Elena near Medellín.
- Museo de Ciudad – Medellín’s City Museum, which is located next to Pueblito Paisa. This museum has a scale model of the city and a photo exhibit with photos from the 1890s to about 1950 showing the history of the city of Medellín.
The 10 English-language Colombia guidebooks that I have are missing several of these museums. And each guidebook only includes six to nine out of the 17 museums in Medellín we have looked at.
The Bottom Line: Museo Casa Gardeliana
Museo Casa Gardeliana doesn’t get as many visitors as the larger museums in Medellín. It’s a more obscure museum that isn’t found in many of the travel guide books.
However, this museum in Manrique is still worth a visit, particularly if you are interested in tango music.
Medellín may not come to mind when you hear the word tango, but with Carlos Gardel’s death in the city, Medellín developed an immediate connection to tango music. This connection can be seen in Museo Casa Gardeliana and the International Tango Festival held in Medellín in June each year.
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Thanks so much Jeff. Short but full of information, and nicely done. More of a salsa guy, but nothing wrong with tango!
I love tango and didn’t know about this museum in Medellin. Thanks for the interesting post.
His “Por Una Cabeza” was the opener and magically set the tone for “Schindler’s List”. The film was set in Germany and had nothing to do with Argentina yet Somehow Maestro Steven Spielberg knew it would surely be the best song in the history of the world for recreating the excitement of Schindler’s early halcyon days as a Nazi on the make with a keen eye for the ladies and with a certain panache for making his Enamelwerke company known in the right places. I’ve gone back to YouTube time and again to watch that scene and hear that tango.
Gardel was the quintessential urban man and bon vivant of his day, always dressed to the nines and sure to turn heads at the race track. Just uncanny.
Thanks, I added the YouTube scene from “Schindler’s List” with “Por Una Cabeza” to the article.