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The Museum was founded
by Sergio Larraín García-Moreno
and the City of Santiago. It was a pioneer
initiative in Latin America, creating an
institution that would keep, study and promote
the artistic legacy of all of America's
pre-Columbian people, forgetting about the
borders that now divide all countries.
During the 70s, the architect and private
collector Sergio Larraín García-Moreno
realized the importance of his patrimony
and the urge of taking care of its maintenance
and permanent protection. His concern was
heard by Santiago's mayor, Patricio Mekis,
who worked in finding a building for the
new institution. In parallel, it was created
the Larraín Echenique Family Foundation,
a name that wanted to express that it was
his heirs —and not the collector himself— who were making the donation to create a
Through a deal between the Foundation and
the City of Santiago, the Pre-Columbian
Art Museum opened its doors in December
The Museum pieces main characteristic is
that they were chosen with an aesthetic
criteria, more than for scientific or anthropological
reasons. That's why it is called a Museum
of "Art", to make a difference
from the ones of anthropology, archeology
or ethnography. Sergio Larraín firmly
believed that Art "touches hearts",
and that it is a knowledge source different
to documents or monuments.
In 1979, shortly before making the donation
to the Foundation that would hold the Museum,
Sergio Larraín asked for technical
opinions among Chilean and foreign Scientifics.
He asked them to make a list of what they
thought was best to hold in a permanent
exhibit. Realizing there were some gaps
to fill, he especially traveled to the U.S.
and Europe to buy art works.
Only when he was confident about the quality of what he was donating, he gave more than a thousand objects. That was the base for the Museum's first permanent exhibit. Later, in 1988, he donated the objects that were still under his property, asking to keep the profits until his death, which happened in 1999.
Currently, the collection has 3,110 pieces from a period of more than 10,000 years. Especially remarkable are the objects from the mapuches and the aymaras.
The Museum's collections come from different American cultural areas of the last millenniums. Up until the 16th Century this Continent held a population of around 100 millions inhabitants, all from different races, languages and cultures. That diversity is widely represented in the Museum's American artistic legacy.
Most of the pieces come from funerary offertories of high-class people. These show aspects of daily life such as war, architecture, games, sex habits, sickness, music, etc. It is especially important since most of these people left no written testimonies.
Address: Bandera 361, Santiago de Chile.
At the corner of Bandera and Compañía Streets, one block away from Plaza de Armas. The closest metro station is "Plaza de Armas".
Hours: Tuesday to Saturdays, between 10 am and 6 pm. Sundays, from 10 am to 2 pm.
Entrance fee: $2,000. Students and children, free. The Museum offers free guided tours.
Phone: (56-2) 688 7348, extension 22. Or (56-2) 688 7352.
More information: www.precolombino.cl