Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by Sonja Bricker.
Museums, I love them. Art, Science, History, Special Interest – it doesn’t matter, so long as I get inspired by something. I have been to many museums including the Louvre, all the Smithsonian museums, a Sex museum in Amsterdam and even one dedicated to Pinball, to name a few personal highlights.
Here in Medellín I visited the Antioquia Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (MAMM) within my first week of moving here. I was so impressed by the MAMM that I became a one year member for 80,000 pesos ($27). This was an easy decision since I live a 15-minute walk away. Now I can go to independent films every weekend for 5,000 pesos ($1.75), attend lectures and simply drop by for a quick visit anytime.
However, I knew there had to be more museums to discover. Indeed, there are at least 22 museums within the city limits, many of them free. I am going to focus on three museums in this article. Each of these I believe are definitely worth visiting: the Water Museum, the University of Antioquia Museum and the Pedro Nel Gomez House Museum.
The above photo of the Water Museum is courtesy of Museo del Agua.
The Water Museum (Museo de Agua) is administered by EPM (Medellin’s public utility company which operates in the water, sewer, electricity and gas sectors). It is a small museum that strives to give the visitor knowledge about water in its different states. There are 9 rooms, each with a different focus. The Water Museum is also a popular museum for children.
First of all, there is a very dramatic interactive video display that attempts to convey the origin of the universe, complete with explosions, surround sound and bright lights. This transitions to information about ancient civilizations and their innovative developments with water.
Then, there are detailed rooms recreating different Colombian ecosystems. These lead to rooms focusing on how to create sustainable cities, emerging innovations and the part EPM plays in keeping Medellin’s water safe and protected.
I found the Water Museum fascinating. Especially impressive is that all visitors are assigned their own personal tour guide (several guides are bilingual) to help explain and answer questions. This is included in the 6,000 peso ($2.10) entrance fee.
Located in Barefoot Park (Parque de Los Pies – worthy of a visit) and in front of the EPM building, the Water Museum can be reached via Metro (Alpujarra station), MetroPlus (Plaza Mayor stop) or using EnCicla bicycles (there is a station next to the museum).
Admission is 6,000 pesos. Or free if you are over 60 years old, under 5 years old, or living in Estrato 1, 2 or 3 and show your EPM bill. It is open 8:30am – 4pm, Tuesday – Friday and 10:30 – 5pm, weekends and holidays.
Address: Carrera 58 #42-125
University of Antioquia Museum (MUUA)
The University of Antioquia is one of Colombia’s oldest public universities, founded in 1803. And it has over 30,000 students. It is a gorgeous campus, full of gardens, fountains and imposing concrete buildings. Easily reached by Metro (University station), visitors can gain entry to the campus by simply showing a copy of their passport or a cedula.
The MUUA, as the museum is known, is located on the main square. Founded in 1942, it has an impressive collection of over 20,000 archaeological pieces on the Anthropology floor. The Natural Sciences floor contains 18,000 pieces including naturalized animals, skeletons, study skins, wet-preserved specimens, minerals, fossils, and scientific illustrations. In addition, there are two floors devoted to temporary art expositions.
I have visited the MUUA three times. Noteworthy are the rotating art shows, which are diverse in medium and theme. Plus, Jardín Botanical Gardens is across the street (free admission).
There is a gift shop, small auditorium and library. Furthermore, students are available to answer questions and provide insight on the exhibits.
Admission is free. Hours are 12 – 5pm, Tuesday – Saturday.
Address: Calle 67 # 53-108, Bloque 15
Pedro Nel Gomez House Museum
Finally, the last of the museums I’ll cover is probably one of the least visited, hidden away in the Aranjuez neighborhood (a 15-minute walk from the Botanical Garden).
This museum founded in 1975 was the family home of Pedro Nel Gomez, one of Colombia’s most important artists of the 20th century. His renown is due to his vast and varied body of work, which ranges from massive murals, oil and watercolor paintings, pastels, engravings, sculptures plus architectural and engineering projects.
The house itself still contains original furniture, family portraits, personal effects and expansive gardens. There are 160 square meters of murals and 2000 pieces of art on rotating display. In addition, the library contains 5000 documents and 2000 books. It is a staggering amount of work. And there is a very organic feel to the way it is laid out.
On the day of my two hour visit I saw no one else. Even the security guards were scarce, with room after room unattended.
Admission is free. Hours are Monday – Saturday, 9am – 5pm. Highly recommended.
Address: Carrera 51b # 85-24
Sonja is from Whidbey Island, WA. She has traveled to 46 countries but never wanted to settle down in any of them until she discovered Medellin. She is currently living here in Medellín temporarily until she figures out how to be a permanent resident.