Museo Comunitario Isla Maciel

Buenos Aires, Argentina


The Isla Maciel Community Museum project emerged through a collaborative effort among parents, youth, and the Número 24 high school in Isla Maciel, an old port neighbourhood near Buenos Aires. The group aimed to develop initiatives that extended beyond the classroom and had a positive impact on the neighbourhood’s residents. Their first step was to reconstruct the area’s historical memory, resulting in the establishment of a community museum dedicated to preserving the heritage of Isla Maciel. Over time, the initiative evolved into a civil society organization, expanding its efforts beyond historical preservation to enhance the well-being of local residents through a range of community integration activities.

The Isla Maciel Community Museum initiative promotes a collaborative framework among its members, ensuring that all its activities, be they social or tourism-related, are geared towards generating benefits for the community. Its primary goal is to create opportunities and challenge the prevailing perceptions of Maciel Island and its residents, both within and outside the community.

In addition, a “paint your island” project emerged featuring a series of murals designed to infuse colour and change the negative perception of the Island as an unsafe place. This initiative proved successful, attracting tourists and establishing a network of young guides who have helped to sustain social progress. The organization’s approach is multifaceted, involving the participation of all island inhabitants, particularly its youth, by providing them with a secure platform to develop their skills and to promote themselves as a source of income through tourism. Additionally, the organization seeks opportunities to collaborate with other community groups, such as local firefighter companies and children’s organizations.

local families directly impacted
community members benefitting

Critical Need

Despite its location and proximity to a popular tourist attraction in Buenos Aires (La Boca), Isla Maciel was largely overlooked by visitors due to the perception of the neighbourhood as dangerous or unsafe. To change this misconception, a group of residents came together and made a deliberate effort to change the collective perception of Isla Maciel, inviting tourists to discover the real essence of the place. This provides an opportunity for travellers to safely explore a neighbourhood with a rich cultural and historical heritage.

To create more impact, the local organization sought guidance to enhance the tour experience of La Famosa Isla Maciel for visitors. Additionally, they required funding to improve the facilities and equipment necessary to better serve visitors at the community center and to overcome barriers to accessing the tourist market and the opportunities it presents.

Our Involvement

Planeterra, in partnership with Vsocial, invested in strengthening and consolidating the tourism operations of the Isla Maciel Community Museum and also provided technical assistance to improve the quality of tourist services by modernizing equipment and enhancing facilities. The project aims to empower young people and reinforce their commitment to the continuation of the initiative based on generational exchange.

Now, the project enjoys recognition at both the local and regional levels and is actively developing strategies to enhance its sustainability and increase its positive impact on the communities that inhabit the neighbourhood through tourism.