The only museum of its kind in Madrid. Gives an excellent presentation of the Americas (South and North) before and after European "discovery." Though it emphasizes Spain's two most important colonies, Peru and Mexico, there is a good variety of presentations, all extremely well done.
The most important holding is the Madrid Codex, one of the few Maya codices still in existence, a real treasure. The codices were the written records of Maya civilization, destroyed en masse by the conquering Spaniards. The primary order for their destruction came from religious authorities, whose interest was in destroying any material deemed heretical and to pave the way for the mass conversion to Christianity of the natives.
The museum is nicely laid out and the collection is outstanding. Naturally, there is a lot of gold and precious metals, but the feather collections and ceramics are not to be missed. For me this is a must-see museum. Give yourself at least two or three hours to see it.
note- photography allowed, no flash
The Museo de America houses some amazing treasures which were shipped to Spain by Pizarro, Cortes and Columbus and came from the colonization of parts of the Americas. Spread over two floors, the rarest piece is a Mayan Codice Trocortesiano from Mexico which dates from AD 1250-1500. This piece is a type of parchment which features illustrations of heroglyphic scenes depicting every day life. Other items are solid gold ornaments, the Treasure of the Quimbayas, from Colombia
Museum of the Americas is located in Moncloa next to the university. It has a big collection, but it is sorted by themes, rather than countries, and the result IMO is confusing. Collection is rich and varied, and even though it is inferior to similar museums in Latin America proper, it would be a fascinating introduction to anyone who has not been there yet. I just wish it were organized differently. Across the highway there is a large and beautifully landscaped park.
BEWARE! The place CLOSES VERY EARLY at 3 pm. Also make sure you exit the side of the avenue next to it because you will not be able to cross the highway in front. Just look for a very tall tower. The museum is right next to it.
This is a museum that shows some of the oodles of stuff that they plundered from the Americas. It also has other exhibits such as how natives lived over there and an amazing model of a palace that you must see if you go there. There are still some gold pieces that didn't get melted down and a variety of other things. I wouldn't put it on the top of your list but it is worthy of a visit if you're in the area.