Learn about Chile’s Regional Museums and What They Have to Offer

Indigenous cultures and collections that correspond to historic events related to each area are what Chile’s regional museums have to offer. All of them are free of charge.

Museo Gabriela Mistral
Imagen: Museo Gabriela Mistral

Since its establishment as the Museo Nacional de Pinturas in 1880 and its subsequent re-opening in 1910 to commemorate Chile’s 100 years of independence, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts), together with the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art), have been the main artistic center of Santiago and a must-see stop for locals and tourists.

However, local museums everywhere in Chile have been doing their own job regarding the dissemination of culture in the country. Here we present you the attractions these museums offer.

Museo Regional de Atacama: Located in the north of Chile, this museum has an important archaeological collection that includes objects of indigenous cultures such as the Diaguitas Copiapoes, the Inca-Diaguita the Molle Culture. In addition to this, being located in an area renowned for its mining potential, the Museo 23Regional de Atacama also exhibits diverse historical objects related to the industry’s development during the 19th century. But the most curious attraction of this museum certainly is the mummified corpse of an indigenous miner.

Museo Gabriela Mistral: The museum is located in Vicuña, where the Nobel Prize winner poet Gabriela Mistral was born, in the street named after her. The museum has a permanent exhibition of her life that includes diverse objects and texts, which were retrieved from her residences in Chile and the United States, the latter where she served as a consul. In addition to the museum, tourists can visit the house where Mistral was born and raised.

Museo O’Higginiano y de Bellas Artes de Talca: Located in Maule region, this museum has nine heritage collections that include paintings, manuscripts, documents, and military weaponry. These correspond to the ones used during the Guerra del Pacífico (War of the Pacific), while the manuscripts encompass documents related to Chile’s Independence. Moreover, the building is a heritage site itself because it is the Casa de la Independencia, where Bernardo O’Higgins himself approved the Chilean Declaration of Independence.

Museo Mapuche Cañete: Located in Arauco province, Bio Bío region, and 3km (almost 2 miles) away from Cañete, this museum has a wide range of objects that represent ancient Mapuche culture. In the vast collection, household and ritual clothing are classified according to their material. For example, among the bone-made objects, the Ñolkiñ stands out; this is a wind instrument used in rituals like the Nguillatún. On the other hand, regarding the stone-made objects, the wind instrument Piloilo, and the tool for working the land Katankura are pieces worth seeing.