Founded over 180 years ago by French intellectual Claudio Gay, it is one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the country.
Since 1876, it operates in an imposing neo-classical style building located in the Quinta Normal Park, which at that time used to be a venue for academic studies as well as agriculture and botany experiments.
After being closed to the public due to damage by the earthquake of February 27, 2010, the National Natural History Museum reopened on May 18, 2012 (International Museum Day) with a renewed museum proposal, which consists in a north-south route detailing first the origin of life and the Earth, and then stand out the natural and cultural landscapes of our country, emphasizing the Chilean biodiversity of flora and fauna, besides its relationship with the first nations.
The building was declared a National Monument in 1991.
Founded on September 14, 1830 as the National Museum, it is one of the oldest in the Americas and the first in the country. It originally opened at the former Royal Customs building, now the Pre-Columbian Art Museum. In the mid 19th century, it was relocated to the building of the University of Chile, and in 1876 the collection was transferred to its current location.
This neo-classical construction was erected in 1829 by French architect Paul Lathoude. Years later, in 1875, it was used to house the First International Exhibition in Quinta Normal.
The museum was initially conceived to house specimens of the main plants and minerals of Chile. Over the years, it became a prestigious institution thanks to the development of scientific research, its quality as a depository for national collections, and its community outreach activities.
The building was affected time and again by earthquakes, in 1906 and 1927, being hit hardest by the latter, as most of the museum was destroyed. In subsequent remodeling work, new floors were gradually added on. The damage caused by the earthquake of February 27, 2010 forced the closure of the museum. In May 2012 it was reopened only the exhibition of the first floor.
The significance of this museum lies in the fact that it preserves, researches, educates and communicates the knowledge created by its collections to encourage an appreciation of the biological and cultural diversity of Chile for the benefit of the sustained development of the national community.
Apart from the collections, the museum has a cafeteria, offers guided tours, and the “Abate Molina” Scientific Library is available for users.
The museum exhibits a display of Chile’s biogeographic diversity, from the High Andean Plateau to the Antarctic.
Displays a large whale skeleton, surrounded by whalebones, the jaw of a sperm whale and explanatory panels on the life of these cetaceans.
This permanent exhibition begins with the origin of the universe and continues with an ecological vision of Chile. The windows and dioramas recreate different biogeographic environments throughout our country. You can see photos, videos, audio guides, applications and maps in www.chilebiogeografico.cl/historia.html
Del Parque, Santiago, Quinta Normal.