National Museum, Bogotá
The building where the National Museum is housed was designed by the English architect Thomas Reed as a prison. It served as a prison for both men and women until 1946 and two years later the museum moved in here. It is a huge museums with exhibition rooms on three floors. To see everything fully you will need more than a day. The exhibitions will give you a good insight in Colombian history and show objects from the first people settled in the area until modern times. There is pottery, weapons, textiles, jewellery and furniture and much more. There is also an exhibition of paintings made by Colombian artists like Botero and Obregón.
When I visited there was a holiday so the entrance fee was only 500 pesos. Normally it was 5000 pesos (August 2007).
The museum is closed on Mondays and it is open between 10 - 17.30 on Tuesday - Sunday.
When I visited the National Museum there was a temporary exhibition of the Mochica, who lived in an area now in northern Peru. Many of the objects displayed had been found at excavations in Sipan. Guided tours were given and texts about the Mochica were hanging on the walls and explanations were next to the objects. Unfortunately everything was only in Spanish (as in the rest of the museum).
The exhibition was very good and I definitely think it can be worth finding out what temporary exhibition is on when I visit Bogotá again.
The National Museum was founded on 28 July 1823. It is the oldest of the city's museums of the country and one of the oldest in America.
It functioned in several periods during 123 years and then it was installed in the building of the old Penitenciaria de Cundinamarca, designed by the Dane architect Thomas Reed to be a prison. There are still some old cells as evidence of its notorious past. It includes arches, domes and columns forming a kind of cross with more than a hundred cells. It is built with bricks and stone and has a walled solid stone facade. It was declared a National Monument in August 1975. The Ministry of culture restored this building in 1989-2001. There are temporary and permanent exhibitions. The most important are their collections of archaeological and ethnographic items of pre-Colombian tribes, which give a good insight of the past. During my visit, collections of famous painters were exhibited , as Fernando Botero, Guillermo Weideman, Alejandro Obregon and Luis Alberto Acuña.
There is a nice coffee shop next to the north garden.
Entrance is about 2.5$. It is found in Bogota downtown.
Open from Tuesday from 10:00 to 8:00pm Wed-Sat from 10:00 to 6:00pm and Sun 10:00-4:00pm
The Museo Nacional houses a fine collection of Colombian artifacts and though only in Spanish is easy enough to follow due to its chronological order with a few 1500 year old mummies thrown in for good measure. If your time in Bogota is short, this might not be a must see as it is a bit out-of-the-way, between La Candelaria and Zona Rosa, but if you have time and in particular are in town on a Sunday, it is worth stopping in. Since it is on Carrera 7 and this street is closed to traffic on Sundays, it is a much more enjoyable walk and you can snack the whole way there making the time go by quickly. You also see locals doing the same and many of them going into the museum too as it is free on Sundays too.
The National Museum has been around for nearly 200 years, so they do a pretty good job of presenting their collections of Archeology, Art, History and Ethnography in a beautiful building in the downtown area of Bogota.
When I visited, it happened to be a holiday, so only the temporary exhibits were open, but the guard was kind enough to let me walk around some of the building, which is very nice.
There are 17 permanent exhibits and on the first floor you'll find temporary exhibits.
Entry is 3000 pesos for adults and it's possible to arrange English or French language tours by calling in advance (334 83 66, extension 304).
The Museum is open from Tuesday through Sunday as follows:
Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10 am to 6 pm
Sundays, from 10 am to 5 pm
This is the museum for all Colombians, and when I went there, there were several schoolchildren enjoying the exhibits.
The museum has a collection of more than 20,000 objects that are symbols of national history and heritage, from the first inhabitants to modern artists.
There are 17 permanent exhibition galleries with more than 2,500 pieces currently on display, and they also organize the Cátedra Anual de Historia 'Ernesto Restrepo Tirado', an academic event that has been carried out annually for more than 10 years.
The Museum has a website, constantly creating new and contemporary ways of being in touch with its public. Palns are for a 10-year navigation chart that channels all human and financial assets towards the objectives of three major strategic areas: building multiple narratives of the history of cultural processes of Colombia, developing audiences and strengthening the nation´s museums.
Worth a vist especially if you enjoy visiting major museums in major cities.
The National Museum was opened in 1948, after the original tenants of the building moved out in 1946. The building, known as El Panoptico, was originally built and used as a prison.
The first floor houses, on the right once you enter, some constantly changing temporary exhibits, as well as some pre-colonial artifacts such as pottery, etc. The second floor has on display early colonial era stuff such as military uniforms, furniture and paintings. On the top floor, and my favorite floor, there is art by such renound Colombian artists as Botero and Alejandro Obregon.
I think the entrance price was 4,000pesos, or thereabouts. Open Tues-Sat, 10am - 5:30pm.
THE NATIONAL MUSEUM. (EL MUSEO NACIONAL).
The collections of the National Museum contain more than 30.000 pieces which include archeological pieces of the pre-colombian cultures (Muiscas, Taironas, Quimbayas, San Agustin, Calima, Tierradentro, Tumaco and Nariño), Ethinic cultural pieces from the Amazonas, Orinoco, Guajira, Andes and Pacific Coast.
The Museum basically has three main sections: Anthropology and archeology (first floor), History (second floor) and Arts (third floor).
Museo Nacional's huge brick building used to be an old prison.
The museum is spread out in 3 long halls radiating out. You can almost imagine these wings used to contain prison cells.
On the ground floor, the museum holds an immense and excellent archaeological collection that tells very thoroughly the history and various cultures of Colombia. Super highly recommended.
I took a long time, exploring the ground floor, trying to understand the various pre-columbiano tribes in the different parts of Colombia and their cultures. When I was done, I thought that was it and prepared to leave as I was already exhausted. Then I realised, there were still more displays in the first and second floor. Goodness!
The first and second floors hold fine art, paintings and sculptures. Still worth a spin if you are not tired out.