Considered to be one of the best museums in Chile for the value of its exhibits and the overall museographic concept displayed.
Closed since December of 2011 up to January of 2014 , and thanks to the recovery efforts and expansion of the building, it has now more space for exhibitions and modern spaces, such as interactive areas and a new room: “Chile antes de Chile” (Chile before Chile), located in level -1.
Its permanent collection includes over 5,000 pieces of various origins, but selected with a careful aesthetic criterion.
The exhibit goes beyond chronological or spatial order, with each display cabinet presenting diverse cultures according to aesthetic or anthropological characteristics in common, such as shamanism, masks or music.
Besides its invaluable exhibition of pieces from American cultures, the museum has a souvenir shop, a specialized bookshop, coffee shop, guided bilingual tours, temporary exhibition rooms and itinerant exhibitions to draw culture and history closer to society.
The Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art has been closed since December 2011 due to repair and expansion works on the building which will continue until the end of 2013.
The collection on display is characterized by the eminently aesthetic criterion with which the pieces were selected. The “Pre-Columbian America in Art” exhibit stands out for covering some 10,000 years of the history of America and a hundred or so cultures.
The objects come from different American cultural areas and, although most of them were part of funerary offerings of individuals of high social standing, they speak of diverse aspects of daily life in these cultures.
The collection pieces are grouped into the following cultural areas: Mesoamerica, Intermediate, Southern Andes, Central Andes, Caribbean and the Amazonian.
The museum also has some pieces in excellent state of preservation, known as “master pieces”, such as the stone Mask from the Tafí Culture (300 B.C.-800 A.D.) or the ceremonial stone sickle or Clava from the pre-Mapuche Culture (1300-1500 A.D.).
The origins of the museum lie in the personal collection of its founder, Sergio Larraín García-Moreno, a Chilean architect who for 50 years devoted himself to collecting a variety of pre-Columbian objects. In order to ensure the integrity of the collection, the Larraín Echeñique Family Foundation was set up; through an agreement with the Town Council of Santiago, this foundation created the Chilean Museum of pre-Columbian Art, a pioneering initiative in Latin America.
Today, the museum operates in one of the most important buildings from the Colonial period. In neo-classical style, it was built in 1805 to house the Royal Customs Palace during the colonial administration.
Located one block away from Plaza de Armas, Santiago’s main square, the site on which this building stands has always been an important place in the history of Santiago and of the country as a whole.
This building was erected according to drawings by the Italian architect Joaquín Toesca. During the Republic, it was occupied by the National Library, and from 1845 onwards, it became the seat of the Courts of Justice until a fire destroyed its facilities and archives in 1968.
After successive repair works, the museum was officially opened on December 10, 1981. The Municipality of Santiago provided the property, taking responsibility for restoration and conditioning works for it to house the permanent collection.
Bandera, 361, Santiago.