Museum of Pre-Columbian Art
Not just a point of reference for Chile but for the whole of Latin America, containing historic pieces from pre-Columbian culture.
It covers 4,500 years of pre-Columbian civilization, the highlight of which is the Chinchorro mummies, from Chile's indigenous culture and older than the famous Egyptian mummies. The permanent exhibition is not just Chilean culture, but rather is aims to be a point of reference for the whole of Latin America's history prior to the conquest. This has been a pioneering effort latterly copied by other countries. As a result there are pieces from places like the Caribbean, Colombia, Ecuador, the whole of the Amazon jungle and the central and southern Andes. Themes covered by its temporary exhibitions over the last few years include: the Andean world, the legacy of the shaman or the great Inca civilization. The museum grew out of the Chilean architect Sergio Larraín García-Moreno's initiative. Over a number of years he himself searched, classified and kept pre-Columbian works of art and then in the 70s decided to look for an institution to continue his legacy. Supported by the incumbent mayor of Santiago, he could finally fund this museum, which opened its doors to the public in December 1981. Located a few streets from the Plaza de Armas, the museum is housed in an elegant colonial era building, in neoclassical style, previously the home of the National Library.