Cultural Heritage in the North of Chile

Museums that are dedicated to rescue and preserve the historical mining, archeological and cultural values of the North of Chile. Fossils, mummies, elements taken from the sea and meteorites, are some of the things that can be visited in these places.

Imagen de Chile
Imagen de Chile

From the Arica and Parinacota Region until the Coquimbo Region, the North of Chile has stood out for its important historical and heritage value. With a strong mining culture and a variety of archeological sites, it has become necessary to create places in order to exhibit and also study these treasures. We give you, therefore, a list of different museums that bring our history closer to us and help us understand our national identity.

San Miguel de Azapa Universidad de Tarapacá Museum – Arica

Belonging to the Anthropology Department of the Faculty of Social and Legal Sciences of Universidad de Tarapacá, this museum has developed around three main discoveries. It has three exhibition rooms that are distributed in differents areas of Arica, they are mainly focused on the Chinchorro culture, and its mummies, which are considered to be the oldest in the world.

Iquique’s Marine Museum – Iquique

It was founded by the Chilean Army with the purpose of preserving and exhibit elements rescued from the wreck of the Esmeralda and other ships that took part in the Battle of Iquique and in Punta Gruesa. Currently, both the objects that are exhibited and the building in which the museum is placed are considered National Monuments, due to their historical value during the Pacific War.

Huanchacha Ruins Museum – Antofagasta

It is placed in front of the Huanchaca Ruins, that were originally an old silver foundry. The museum includes different themes in its exhibition rooms; taking into account the formation of the earth, how men related to minerals and also how men looks to the universe discovering new constellations. The museum also has an exhibition of minerals, rocks and fossils.

Meteorite Museum – San Pedro de Atacama

It is known as one of the more particular and interesting museum of the national territory. It is dedicated to the recollection, study and exhibition of meteorites; all of them found in the Atacama desert. Among the 3.200 pieces that are present in the museum, 77 of the most important are open to the public. The pieces have been studied and certified by important institutions, such as UCLA, CEREGE and the NASA.

Paleontological Museum of Caldera – Caldera

Created with the purpose of preserving the different archeological findings of the region, part of its exhibition is formed by a variety of fossils from the jurassic period, together with a whale skull fossil, 10 million years old, which is the biggest of South America and it is called “Josefina”.

Miners Museum – Tierra Amarilla

The main objective of this museum is to contribute with knowledge to the consolidation of the regional identity and therefore preserve historical heritage values. Its collection is formed by mining elements of the zone and different geological samples from Chile and the world, such as three metallic meteorites, a 110-million-years-old spheric granite, a big quarz of almost one meter, igneous rocks, fossils, and a complete collection of 250 minerals from the North of Chile; besides other historical objects and testimonial graphic resources of the mining activity.

Gabriela Mistral’s Museum – Vicuña

This museum was created with the idea of let people know about the life and work of the poet Gabriela Mistral. Its permanent collection is formed by almost 1.000 personal objects of the poet, together with a library of about 2.000 different works, most of them originally part of her personal collection.

Archaeological Museum of La Serena – La Serena

Museum of a great historical and archeological value for the Coquimbo Region. Today it has a variety of archeological collections of the Diaguita and Molle cultures. Also, it counts with one exhibition room specially dedicated to the Rapa Nui culture and Easter Island, whose main attraction is an impressive moai. You can also find samples of Los Pelambres’ rock art.