Must-see museums in Central America and the Dominican Republic

The region is synonymous with spectacular beaches, overflowing nature and a culture with a unique historical and artistic legacy.

CATA, the tourism promotion office of Central America, points out that, in addition to highlighting its past, it is also looking to the future and is committed to the creation of new spaces that are engines of cultural tourism, such as the Abreu Museum in the Dominican Republic; the National Museum of Costa Rica; the Biomuseum in Panama, or the Museum of Sculpture, Archaeological Park of Copán Ruinas in Honduras.

Central America and the Dominican Republic are committed to the creation of new museums as cultural engines.

Central America and the Dominican Republic are synonymous with spectacular beaches, overflowing nature and a culture with a unique historical and artistic legacy. But in addition to collecting and highlighting its past, the region is looking to the future and is committed to the creation of new museums that will serve as a driving force for cultural tourism.

In this way, past, present and future coexist in a region where art is one of its clearest signs of identity. Here are some of them.

Dominican Republic inaugurates the Abreu Museum

This is the latest museum opening in the region. With the aim of strengthening art and culture in the eastern region of the Dominican Republic, the Abreu Museum was recently inaugurated in Bávaro, Punta Cana, hosting the exhibition: ‘Work in progress’, by its founding artist Oscar Abreu.

The art gallery, sponsored by a group of art collectors, such as Damien Hooper-Cambell, Félix Cabrera, Moisés Pérez, and Julio Mirage, is a sustainable work, thought and dreamed from beginning to end, inclined towards the promotion of the artistic heritage.

The journey towards this work allows the recovery of historical memory, based on the searches and experiences of an artist who has been able to nourish himself from his environment, raising his existential discourse through expressive language.

In addition to the works of Oscar Abreu himself, architect of the museum and father of the psycho-expressionist artistic movement, there are exhibitions by Luis Ros, Odannis Féliz, Ángel Abreu, Adriana Dorta, Teté Marella, Amable Sterling and Osiris Blanc, under the seal of Francisco Nader Arte Latinoamericano.

National Museum of Costa Rica, a symbol of the country

The National Museum of Costa Rica is located in the Bellavista Fortress, built in 1917. It was originally used by the military, when Costa Rica had an army before its abolition in 1948, and even still has some bullet holes from the civil war of the same year.

Today, the museum houses an important collection of pre-Columbian, colonial, industrial and modern art, archaeological artifacts, and natural and cultural heritage exhibits. Visitors to the National Museum of Costa Rica will be able to observe some of the most interesting objects that have been unearthed from various archeological sites, such as the ‘metates’ or grinding stones, used during funeral ceremonies.

The museum has a wide variety of collections, the result of research projects and donations.

Thus, the National Herbarium gathers 220,000 specimens, including fungi, lichens, algae, mosses, ferns and higher plants, and the entomological collection has more than 19,000 specimens of diurnal butterflies and more than 12,000 specimens of other groups, such as bumblebees, wasps, flies and bedbugs, among other less numerous groups.

It also has approximately 30,000 specimens and includes ceramics, lithics, gold, copper, jade, shell, bone, wood and resin, as well as more than 33,000 goods that reflect the daily activities of Costa Rican society, its artistic, scientific, technical and cultural development.

The Biomuseum, Frank Gehry’s work in Panama

Located at the entrance of the Panama Canal, the Biomuseo is the first building of the famous architect Frank Gehry in Latin America. It is located on the spectacular Amador Causeway, less than five minutes from Casco Antiguo, Cerro Ancon and the Bridge of the Americas.

Its permanent exhibition presents in a novel way how Panama, by connecting North and South America, changed the world and today’s biodiversity. Eight galleries explain how the emergence of Panama changed the world 3 million years ago.

These galleries were designed by the renowned Bruce Mau, founder of the Massive Change Network. The Biomuseo’s mandate is to educate about the role of human beings in the sustainability of life on earth; it is a center for the exploration, knowledge and protection of biodiversity, which seeks to promote critical thinking and create managers of change in society.

Frank Gehry’s work, more than that of any other architect, is very much like that of a contemporary artist and sculptor.

In the Biomuseo we can see many references to local culture and biodiversity (its colors) and to canal architecture (the roofs and architectural forms). It is a building that directs the gaze towards the landscape and integrates with it.

The spectacular Sculpture Museum, Archaeological Park of Copán Ruinas

In the Mayan archaeological zone of Copán, Honduras, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is one of the most important exhibitions of pre-Hispanic pieces of the subcontinent, in the Museum of Sculpture.

Crossing the impressive entrance, one can visit 59 sections distributed in more than 4,000 square meters (some subway), which keep more than 3,000 rescued pieces and some admirable replicas of one of the most advanced civilizations in history. The huge building comprises about 4,000 square meters of construction on two levels (most of them are underground).

Among them, the impressive full-scale replica of the Rosa Lila Temple, also known as the Temple of the Sun, discovered under structure 16 in perfect condition, gives visitors a very clear idea of Copan during its era of splendor.

Other important exhibits are the facade of the Ball Court, the stelae and the Q altar, all originals.

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