Museums in Lima
Lima is one of the most interesting and challenging cities in South America with a huge archaeological, historical and cultural past. Long before the Common Era until the arrival of the Spaniards numerous highly advanced cultures settled the area of today's Lima. Even nowadays they amaze us with their complex skills in construction, agriculture and arts. The Spanish colonists added to this legendary cultural legacy. This completely different culture with European and Moorish influences are mixed with the indigenous cultural and religious inheritance. In the last couple of hundred years immigrants from Africa and Asia added their part.
The fusion of so many different cultures and traditions makes Lima to what it is today. A reflection of this complexity can be found in an incredible number of museums spread around the city. They display the richness and diverse facets of Lima's and Peru's culture. There is something for everyone: archaeological, cultural and historical museums, art and popular art museums, museums dedicated to famous Peruvian personalities, technology and military museums, natural history and earth science museums and many others.
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Mario Testino is one of the world's most influential photographers, well-known for his pictures of the British Royal family, his work with famous actors and beauties for the greatest international magazines, his creative exhibitions and books. In July 2012 he realized a new project, MATE - the Mario Testino Association in Lima's bohemian district Barranco.
Founded in 1926, the Larco Museum showcases remarkable chronological galleries providing an excellent overview on 3000 years of development of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. Located in a unique vice-royal mansion of the 18th century built over a 7th century pre-Columbian pyramid and surrounded by beautiful gardens. The museum features the finest gold and silver collection from Ancient Peru and a famous erotic archaeological collection.
Founded in April 1826, the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru (MNAAHP) is Peru's oldest state museum. On display is a wide range of perfectly preserved pre-Hispanic ceramics, textiles, metals, organic materials and lithic's. Furthermore objects of historic-artistic value are exhibited. The documentary, photographic and bibliographic collections tell the story of Peru in the Colonial and Republican time.
The Museum of the Central Reserve Bank isn't a museum about money. In 1982 the museum opened its doors to the public with an archaeological, a Republican paintings and a coin collection. But in 2004 the impressive numismatic collection was moved to the newly opened Museo Numismatico. Today the Central Reserve Bank Museum is home to an astonishing pre-Columbian exhibition, an amazing art gallery, the impressive Hugo Cohen Gold collection and a Folk Art exhibition.
In the beautiful restored mansion of the "Tribunal Mayor de Cuentas" from the 17th century the Numismatic Museum was inaugurated on the 25th of March 2004. The "Museo Numismático del Perú" displays a unique collection of mainly coins, banknotes and medals, showing and explaining the Peruvian currency from its origins in 1565 onwards until today and its role in the economic history of Peru.
The Museum of Inquisition and Congress is housed in the old building of the National Senate and opened its doors to the public on the 26th of July 1968. The mission of the museum is to conserve and pass on the cultural heritage for future generations. At the same time it points out the importance and dignity of the Congress of the Republic in the Peruvian history.
The Church and Convent of San Francisco is besides the Cathedral of Lima probably the most significant religious complex in Lima and the most successful and impressive monument of Colonial architecture in whole Latin America. One of the "must-do's" in Lima is a highly recommended tour through the monastery. It gives an impressive inside on how religious life was during Spanish colonial times.
In April 2011 the Museum of Peruvian Gastronomy (Museo de la Gastronomia Peruana) opened its doors to the public. It’s the first museum in Peru dedicated exclusively to the Peruvian cuisine which plays such an important role not only in the culture of the country but as well in everyday life. The Gastronomy Museum leads you through more than 2000 years of culinary richness in Peru.
While the immense Baroque Cathedral of Lima is a museum for itself, within the old sacristy and the adjoining rooms it houses an impressive Religious Art Museum. The museum displays a large collection of historical objects including paintings, sculptures, furniture, jewelry, sacred vessels as well as antique religious vestments and robes of former archbishops.
In December 2011 the new high tech marvel of Lima's museum scene opened its doors to the public. The Museo Metropolitano de Lima (Metropolitan Museum of Lima) is the first completely virtual museum of the country. Using movies, 2D, 3D and even 4D as well as holograms, projections and other technical finesses you are lead through 10,000 years of Lima's history and even get a glimpse of Peru's capital in 2050.
The Lima Art Museum presents 3000 years of Peruvian art. The museum has a large selection of pre-Columbian textiles and ceramics, pictures and furniture from Colonial and Republican times and a significant selection of paintings and photographic works from modern times. A representative selection of these collections can be seen in a permanent exhibition on the first floor. The contemporary art can be found in the exhibition rooms of the basement.
At the end of July 2012 ChocoMuseo opened "La Casa del Chocolate", a museum dedicated to cacao and chocolate, in Lima's district Miraflores. While the main aim is introducing the visitors to the secret of this addicting treat including the history of cacao and the production process, the museum also offers workshops where you can make your own chocolate products. Delicious and fun!
The Museum Andres del Castillo was inaugurated in November 2008. It’s housed in the recently restored Casa Belen, an historic mansion which origins go back to the 17th century. The museum displays mainly a unique collection of crystallized minerals from Peru, interesting pieces of the Chancay Culture, antique Peruvian textiles from different cultures and prehispanic utensils for yarning and weaving.
Indeed the Museo de la Nación is not as well-known as other archeological museums in Lima, Peru, but it is still worth a visit. It shows the Peruvian history in an impressive way. The remarkable presentation of pre-Christian cultures and the collections of Nasca, Wari and Moche ceramics are unique.
Located in the Casa de las Trece Monedas, a colonial rococo mansion from the 18th century, you find the Museo Nacional Afroperuano. The museum explains the history of Afro-Americans in Peru and the contribution their culture made to the country. Main subjects are slavery and the beginnings of the trade of African slaves in Latin America including the characteristics of this phenomenon, social groups, life of slaves in Peru.
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