Museo de América
The Museum of the Americas (Museo de América) houses an impressive collection of over 25,000 artefacts, mostly from South and Central America, but also from the northern part of the continent. The collection was moved to the current building in 1962 after a long spell in the
National Archaeological Museum.
The displays place special emphasis on Pre-Columbian art, archaeology and ways of life, as well as the scientific advancements in the west which led to Europeans reaching the Americas.
The exhibitions describe the different societies which have occupied the Continent since prehistory, their myths and beliefs, and what
archaeological finds can tell us about how they lived.
A section on Communication looks at the wide variety of indigenous languages in the Americas, and how they have been communicated, from pictograms to the written word.
One of the most fascinating artefacts is the Tudela codex, the Aztec code of law from around 1553, with its colourful pictograms, giving a valuable insight into the Aztec way of life.
The spectacular Quimbayas treasure of exquisite gold figures is also well worth seeing, as well as a mummy dating from the first centuries BC. The mummy belonged to the Paracas tribe, which inhabited Peru from around 750 BCE and 100 CE and wrapped its deceased in finely woven texiles. Continuing the theme of the afterlife, a Mayan Funerary Urn made of clay dates from around AD 600-900.
In terms of textiles and clothing, one highlight is a colourful feather headdress, once worn during ritual ceremonies by the Karajà Indians in Brazil, who are nowadays under serious threat.
Another attraction is an example of a huípil, or embroidered tunic, from Guatemala. Its design incorporates detailed information about the woman who once wore it, including the village she came from, her marital status, and how wealthy she was.
Apart from opening the doors to its collections, the Museum hosts a diverse programme of conferences, seminars and courses, as well as music, dance, theatre and activities for children, It is open every day except Monday, but only until three o'clock in the afternoon. It is free on Sundays and certain holidays. The cafetería is open every day, and on Thursdays offers a menu of Central and South American dishes.
Buses 1, 2, 16, 44, 46, 61, 82, 113, 132 and 133 will take you to the Museum, but if you'd prefer to go by Metro, take Line 3 or 6 to Moncloa. The Museum is located in Avenida Reyes Católicos.
Address: Avenida Reyes Católicos, 6, 28040 Madrid
Metro: Line 3, Moncloa Station (Isaac Peral exit), Line 6, Moncloa Station (Plaza de la Moncloa exit), or Line 7, Islas Filipinas station
Telephone: 91 549 26 41
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 9:30am to 3pm. Sundays & holidays, 10am to 3pm.
Closed: Mondays, 1st January, 1st May, 24th, 25th & 31st December.
Entry fee: 3 euros. Free entry on 18th May, 12th October, 6th December and
every day with the Madrid Card.