Museums are usually an amazing place to dive into certain topics– whether it be art, culture, natural science or history. But only a few museums in the world can compare to the vastly diverse and bizarrely unique collection of the Rocsen Museum. Cars, small airplanes, and even mummies are among just some of the intriguing treasures that can be found at this institute of cultural mishmash.

The Rocsen Museum is located in Nono, a Native town in Córdoba, Argentina. 2,952 feet above sea level, this small city rests near the top of the Traslasierra Valley, surrounded by mountains. Nono derives from the Indian word Ñuñu (breasts) given due to the Sierras’ resemblance to a feminine body.

rocsen museumVisiting the Rocsen Museum

The Rocsen Museum was established in 1969 by French collector Santiago Bouchon. By 2016, it would be home to more than 5,000 eclectic objects and peculiar displays. The name Rocsen is a combination of the Latin words rocca and sacer, meaning “Sacred Rock.” Aptly named, the front door of this massive stone structure is guarded by exactly 49 statues of different historical figures, handmade by Bouchon himself. From Leonardo Da Vinci to Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, every statue embodies an influential and prominent figure of human history.

Once inside, the museum is split into eight rooms that explore different themes. It also has its own “chapel,” along with a cozy bar and books available for purchase. Dedicated to mankind with a pacifistic and anti-war agenda, one portion of the museum examines the poverty-stricken lives of the Argentine gauchos of the nineteenth century, while another exhibition is dedicated to the atrocities of World War II, condemning gun violence and fascism.

Old TVs, radios, cameras, record players, toys, medical equipment, dissected animals, paintings, fossils, and even mummies can be found within Rocsen Museum. Exploring Bouchon’s masterpiece from start to finish could take up to three hours, due to the immense amount of objects and treasures to find.

Santiago Bouchon: The Collector

Born in 1928, Juan Santiago Bouchon was the son of an architect and an interior decorator. Inheriting a passion for the fine arts from both of his parents, Santiago went on to study fine arts and anthropology in Paris. His devotion for collecting objects started as a child, and never left him. As the years went by, he further developed his knowledge and craft for collecting, which in turn helped him to become a savvy curator.

After surviving several turbulent years throughout World War II during his late teens, Santiago left France to work in the Consulate in Buenos Aires. In 1951, while on a short trip to Córdoba, Santiago fell in love with Nono and its magic. This remote town in Argentina would become the home where he was able to make his dreams of curating a museum come to life. Santiago was a very dear and beloved member of the local community, who contributed to its cultural legacy every step of the way. He passed away in early 2019 at 90 years of age.

rocsen museumHow to get there

The Rocsen Museum is open to the public every day of the week with the exception of Christmas and New Years Eve. The easiest way to get there is by car or bus from Córdoba City. The trip takes about two hours and as the road ascends into the mountains, weather conditions will need to be taken into consideration before you embark on your trip. On days of heavy rain or fog, the roads may be closed for safety reasons, so be sure to check the weather forecast ahead of time. Once in Nono, the museum is located three miles away from the town’s center. If you’ve arrived by bus, it is possible to get a taxi there.

Visiting Nono

The best time to go to Nono is  during the summer from December to March, when it is possible to enjoy high temperatures while sunbathing by the river, as well as enjoying the stars and clear skies at night.

Touring this region is best by car, as travelers can also visit other attractions and towns nearby in order to fully experience this amazing corner of Córdoba. Less than six miles north, in the city of Mina Clavero, restaurants, bars, and a casino await those who are seeking a buzzing nightlife scene. For this reason, Mina Clavero is a very popular town among youngsters, while also offering a wide variety of outdoor adventures. 

rocsen museum guide
Photo by Allan Rodrigues.

Only a few minutes away from Mina Clavero (or “Mina” as the locals call it) is a massive reservoir of 40,000 hectares that allows travelers to discover the vast nature and immensity of the sierras in Quebrada del Condorito National Park. Hiking, horseback riding, fishing and camping in certain areas can be enjoyed here.

For hiking enthusiasts, Champaquí hill should not be missed. At 9,153 feet above sea level, this is the highest peak in the province and offers an astounding view of the Traslasierra mountain range from the top. Guided tours to the summit take between eight to 10 hours to complete.

Last but not least, it is also possible to go diving in underground rivers near Mina Clavero (with special and authorized tour guides only) such as the Panaholma, located about 30 minutes from the city center.

Have you ever made it to the Rocsen Museum? Share your experiences in the comments below!