The Bazar de Magia, a shop that houses the Argentine Museum of Magic, is not particularly ostentatious.
Stepping inside, however, reveals a slick space of vibrant color, from the enormous performance posters to the magic, clown, and practical joke props for sale. Visiting during normal shop hours will also grant you a look at a (small for museum but large for personal, which it is) collection of magic artifacts, including original posters from the 19th and 20th centuries, props, photos, and books. Most of it centers on one stage magician in particular.
There was once a famous magician named David Bamberg, who was the seventh, and final, member of the Bamberg dynasty of Dutch magicians. During the first half of the 20th century, he performed in Chinese-style clothing under the fakey Chinese and remarkably racist name Fu Manchu.
Odd place for a lot of the stuff belonging to a UK-born itinerant magician of Dutch extraction to end up, right? Well, David Bamberg started using the stage name “Fu Manchu” in Buenos Aires, and eventually retired here and opened a magic school. He died in the city in 1974.
The museum is a small room, so it only takes a few minutes to look around, but if you’re interested in vintage magic stuff in general or David Bamberg in particular, you’re going to like it.
There is also a cabinet of mid-century Argentine magic props. The sign says the staff will not tell you how they work.
Visit the Argentine Museum of Magic in the Bazar de Magia during store hours every day but Sunday, but they break for lunch–check the website for hours. The store not only has magic props and gags, there’s also books on magic (even some in English). You can walk there from the Plaza de Mayo, and it’s around the corner from the Avienda de Mayo stop on the C line.
Thanks for this post. So interesting that I went on to read more on the Bamberg dynasty of magicians!
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