In the old colonial city of Corrientes in northern Argentina, avocado and orange trees line the streets, passion flowers scent the night air and parrots flock amongst white mango blossoms. In their midst a vast neo-classical building houses a museum dedicated to ordering the natural world. Frozen in time, it is named after Aimé Bonpland, a botanist who, with Alexander Humboldt, scaled the Andes, traversed the Amazon and returned to Europe with a bounty of flora and fauna and an impression of America saturated in romantic hues. Stuffed mammals, with outstretched claws, fill room after room, alongside multi-coloured birds in glass cases and pinned butterflies with impossibly huge wings. Handwritten labels identify each by its formal Latin name.
So begins our Spring 1999 cover story. To keep reading, view a PDF of the entire article.