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“Beautiful collection” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
Bandera 361, Santiago, Chile (Centro Histórico)
+562 928 1500
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Ranked #5 of 393 things to do in Santiago
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Attraction details
Owner description: The old Royal Customs House harbors this abundant collection of Latin American artifacts and paintings.
Santiago, Chile
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
32 attraction reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
74 helpful votes 74 helpful votes
“Beautiful collection”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2014

I stumbled upon this museum as I was walking around the city one afternoon. The entrance was usually $3600 but since I only had an hour before closing I was only charged $1000. It would have been worth the full ticket, even for only an hour. The museum houses a beautiful collection of pre-Columbian art organized by geographic location (Southern Andes, Central Andes, Meso-America, etc.). The displays contain lots of information on the use of the artifacts, how they were made, etc. There is enough in English to be informative to visitors who don't read Spanish, but the Spanish texts are roughly twice as long as the English and contain more complete descriptions. In the basement was an exhibit titled "Chile before Chile" which contained artifacts from different regions of Chile as well as Rapa Nui (e.g., Isla de Pascua, Easter Island). There was a nice book shop on the first floor near the entrance. There was also a café, although I didn't have time to eat. Well worth the price of admission.

Visited June 2014
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Bethesda, Maryland
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Fantastic museum”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2014 via mobile

I did not think I would be so excited about pre-columbian art, but their exhibit really surprised me. The mummies that pre-date Egyptians were surprising, as was the knotted rope used to keep accounts. I especially loved the tall wooden statues that served as grave markers. If you are interested in textiles and weaving, they have a very good exhibit on the second floor. While we were there, there was an interactive childrens' exhibit that we all enjoyed (and the youngest was 22!).
We ate at the cafe and enjoyed the corn soup and chocolate croissants.

Visited June 2014
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East Greenbush, New York, United States
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Great things can come in small packages!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2014

Although housed over just two floors, the Museum of Pre Columbian art is the best museum, hands down, that we visited during our two week stay in Santiago. One floor is dedicated to Central and South American pre-Columbian art, while the other floor covers the pre-Columbian art of Chile. The majority of the collection is based on ceramics/pottery, which stands up to the test of time, and there are English as well as Spanish descriptions of the work. We spend about 90 minutes in this museum, and really enjoyed it! I didn't know that psychedelic drugs played such a major role in tribal pre-Columbian culture.

Visited May 2014
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Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Well worth a visit”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2014

Museo de Arte Precolumbino (open Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 to 18:00) has a good collection, which is nicely displayed, with signs written in excellent English. It is not the best museum in Chile, however. That would be Museo Colchagua in Santa Cruz 180 km. SW of Santiago. It is worth the trip if combined with a winery visit or two. Why is such a great museum in such a small place (Santa Cruz has a population of ~33,000)? Santa Cruz is the home of wealthy businessman Carlos Cardoen (among other things the creator of the cluster bomb). The museum is basically his collection and is run by his foundation. By the way, there is still an international arrest warrant out for him for arms sales to Iraq during Saddam Hussein's rule.

Visited February 2014
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Sydney
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69 reviews 69 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
“Excellent collection and well displayed”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2014

We enjoyed the Museum of Pre Columbian art during a recent trip to Santiago. We were lucky enough to contact a guide who spoke fluent English and was very knowledgeable. His name was Jean Albert Rauld <jeanalbert@andestraveler.com>.
The museum has recently reopened after extensive renovations and is an excellent example of people friendly curating. Well worth a visit.

Visited April 2014
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