If you’re trying to decide which of the many museums in Lima you should visit, here we feature three that have everything you’re looking for.
Museo Larco: Pre-Columbian Peru in Pueblo Libre
Inside: If you only have time to visit one museum, it has to be the Rafael Larco Herrera Archaeological Museum. It has the largest collection of pre-Columbian objects but also a dynamic presentation that makes the tour of the museum feel like a journey back in time. The lighting, the carefully arranged objects, the setting, the concise texts… It is impossible to be bored when such excellent information about the history of Peru is offered. And if you’d like to see more archaeological artifacts, you’re welcome to explore the museum’s storerooms, where the shelves reach the roof (there are 45,000 objects). And then there is the museum’s famous collection of erotic pottery, kept in a separate room on the other side of the garden: here, carefully selected pottery artifacts illustrate heterosexual and homosexual practices that are as old as humanity itself.
Outside: The museum is housed in an elegant white viceroyalty mansion, with green gardens filled with flowers. There is a café-restaurant where visitors can lunch among bougainvilleas on a quiet terrace. The store offers exclusive handcrafts not easy to find elsewhere.
Its added attraction: The museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., even on public holidays.
- Address: Avenida Bolívar 1515, Pueblo Libre
- Phone: (01) 461-1312 or 461-1835
- Entrance fee: S/30 soles.
MALI-Lima Museum of Art, in downtown Lima
3000 years of Peruvian art. The museum was reopened in 2015 with a permanent exhibition composed of more than 1200 pieces, displayed across an area of 4500 square meters. The museum now has a pre-Columbian textile room, where the pieces are rotated periodically to protect them from wear. There is also a photography exhibition, with images from early daguerreotypes to the present day, and a futuristically designed room for the displaying of sixty items of Peruvian silverwork, as well as several colonial and republican era canvasses. The spacious galleries of the MALI are also used for temporary exhibitions. From October 1st, the Nazca exhibition will display previously unseen objects from the ancient culture which, in addition to creating the gigantic and mysterious lines on the desert plain of the same name, also left a legacy of pottery, textiles and metalwork. These objects are accompanied by 3D presentations, music and projections.
The Exhibition Palace which houses the MALI is an imposing structure. It was built between 1870 and 1871 in a neo-renaissance style. The columns, made from iron and imported from Europe, have been attributed to the company of Gustave Eiffel, and the building was declared an historic monument and national heritage site in 1973.
Its additional attraction:
Entrance is free of charge on the first Friday of every month from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. On the first Sunday of every month, Peruvians and foreign residents can access the permanent collection free of charge and the temporary exhibitions for just S/5 soles. Free guided visits are also available on these days. The Café Mali is open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (12 noon Mondays). You can also download the audio-guide app; the MALI has free Wi-Fi.
- Entrance fee: S/30 soles (15 soles for Peruvians and foreign residents), from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays until 5:00 p.m.
- Address: Paseo Colón 125, Parque de la Exposición,
- Phone: (01) 204 0000
Museo Pedro de Osma: Viceroyalty art in Barranco
This museum displays a large private collection of viceroyalty art: angels, allegorical works and the glorification of the leading figures of the period. It is interesting to see these works, which were partly intended to assist in the conversion of the indigenous people of the “New World”. There is also a room displaying silverwork and sculpture. The entrance fee includes a guided group visit. There are tours at 10:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 1:00 p.m. (except Sundays), 2:15 p.m., 3:30 pm and 4:45 pm. You can also download the audio-guide app.
The mansion which houses the collection is simply astonishing. It is filled with marvelous details, surrounded by gardens and has been impeccably restored. It is without doubt a jewel of Lima architecture and stands as a testament to Barranco’s glorious past.
Its additional attraction:
The double ticket; S/24 soles to visit Pedro de Osma and the MATE gallery run by the photographer Mario Testino, just a few steps away in a beautiful republican era mansion (Pedro de Osma 409). This gallery exhibits the work of the famous fashion photographer, as well as a selection of his work with indigenous communities. MATE has an exclusive store and a quiet terrace.
- Entrance fee: S/20 soles, from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; closed Mondays.
- Address: Avenida Pedro de Osma 421, Barranco
- Phone: (01) 467-0063