Hundreds of years ago Spanish settlers came to Colombia in search of gold and one only needs to step foot in the Museo del Oro – Gold Museum – in Bogotá to see why. Indigenous people had been mining and using gold long before the Europeans set their sights on the new world and the museum strives to demonstrate this through their many beautiful displays of pre-Hispanic gold and bilingual explanations (English and Spanish) of how the artifacts were used.
The permanent exhibitions, which were renovated in 2008, are housed in the Banco de la Republicá building in downtown Bogotá in Santander Park (more location details below.) In addition to displaying hundreds upon hundreds of artifacts, the museum has several educational displays including the Working of Medals Gallery, People and Gold in Pre-historic Colombia, Cosmology and Symbolism and The Offering, my personal favorite (video below.) Each section takes great care to how the gold is displayed, almost as if it were floating peacefully against a dreamlike backdrop. Photography is permitted without flash.
I found it especially clever, in the People and Gold in Pre-historic Colombia gallery how personal ornaments were displayed. The outline of a person is used to demonstrated where each artifact would be worn, offering a unique perspective and causing you to use your imagination to fill in the gaps.
Free guided tours (in English and Spanish) are offered throughout the day, Tuesday through Saturday. Audio guides are available for hire for those who’d rather experience a self-guided tour. If you opt out of the tour then allow about 90 minutes to 2 hours to thoroughly explore the museum.
When: The Gold Museum is open 6 days a week, Tuesday through Sunday. Sundays are free admission and therefore a bit more crowded. There are also no guided tours available on Sundays. Tuesday – Saturday, 9am – 6pm, Sunday & Public Holidays, 10am – 4pm. Closed on New Years Day, Good Friday, May Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve as well as election days. Be sure to check the website to confirm.
Where: Located at Santander Park, at the intersection of Carrera 5 & Calle 16 in downtown Bogotá. Easily accessible by TrensMilenio, Bogotá’s citywide public transport service, closest station: Museo del Oro.
Cost: Adults: 3,000 COP (about $1.50 USD) children under 12 and adults over 60: Free. As mentioned above, Sunday is free entrance for all so it is more crowded than most days. Guided tours do not run on Sundays. Audio guides in English, Spanish and French are available for $6,000 COP (about $3 USD.)
Guided Tours: Check the website before your visit to make sure these times still hold true. Free guided tours in English, Tuesday thru Saturday at 11am & 4pm. In Spanish, Tuesday thru Friday, 11am, 3pm & 4pm Saturday, 1oam, 11am, 3pm & 4pm. Audio guides in Spanish, English and French are available at an additional cost.