Like European royalty, Punta’s first families formed alliances sealed by matrimony, and the Casa Braun-Menéndez (1904) is a classic example: the product of a marriage between Mauricio Braun (Sara’s brother) and Josefina Menéndez Behety (daughter of José Menéndez and María Behety, a major wool-growing family in Argentina).
Still furnished with the family’s belongings, preserving Mauricio Braun’s office and other rooms nearly intact, the house boasts marble fireplaces and other elaborate features. The basement servants’ quarters reveal the classic upstairs-downstairs division of early-20th-century society.
Today, the Casa Braun-Menéndez (Magallanes 949, tel. 061/244216, museomag [at] entelchile [dot] net) is the regional museum, replete with pioneer settlers’ artifacts and historical photographs. There are imperfect but readable English descriptions of the exhibits. On some days, a pianist plays beneath the atrium’s stained-glass skylight.
November–April, the Museo Regional is open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily except for major holidays; the rest of the year, it closes at 2 p.m. Admission is US$2 for adults, US$1 for children.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition