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BCR museum


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A free and beautiful museum in Lima

Translated by Chloe Mckeown — one month ago

Original text by Jesus en su tinta

Hello everybody! I hope that you are all very well. Today I want to tell you about a museum that belongs to the Central Reserve Bank of Peru and it is free! So here I give you an overview of my experience of this beautiful museum with lots of pre-Hispanic art and an art gallery.

It is a museum with a classic facade as you can see in the following photo and it is located very close to Lima's main square so you can walk there easily. If you go in the morning or afternoon, you will find it open for your pleasure and to spend a first class cultural experience, here is the Museum of the Central Bank of Reserves:

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Useful information about the BCRP museum

To go in, don't forget to carry some form of ID because they are going to ask you at the entrance. The times I've been there they always ask me or at least one person in the group. Besides if you go with big backpacks or bags they are going to ask you to keep it in lockers. It is on the pedestrian street jiron Ucayali where is crosses with jiron Lampa.

The rooms of the museum are in three exhibitions: archaeology, popular art and the art gallery.

Knowing more about Peruvian culture

This museum dates to the year 1982 and it has a basement which used to be the vault of the Central Bank of Reserves. I suggest that you start your tour there because there is a sample of ceramics from different Peruvian cultures such as Chavin, Huari, Chimu, Nazca and Tiahuanaco as well as a didactic chronology so you can understand the different cultures that existed in Peru. There is also a brief revied of the hsitory of Peruvian culture. You will hear a sound when you go in to the room but don't be afraid, it is the sound of the instruments that sound like the "quenas" (a traditional flute) in old Peru.

There you will realise that Peru was not only the Incas, there were many other cultures that were around before the Inca presence and this is something that fills me with pride. The museum will tell you all this through samples so that you can see for yourself in an incredible way.

The museum is almost always included in the tourist routes in Lima if you pay a travel agent but I suggest that you go on your own so that you don't have to pay an entrance fee and you can go around the exhibitions yourself. When I was a student in San Marcos, I wanted to be a tour guide at this museum but destiny played with me and I ended up working in tourism for the Hotel industry. So that's why I love to take my foreign friends to this museum to explain them all the wonders of Peru and to show them that Peru is not just MachuPicchu and the Incas. Peru is much more than that and we have so much to show the world.

Here is a photo on a room that is in the basement which is also where the vault is which the best part of the BCRP museum. It is it's first collection and daily there is school children, locals and foreigners who visit it:

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A room with a spectacular collection of Peruvian gold

Inside the basement at the left hand side, there is a metal rectangular door which surprises a lot of people and when you look inside you will see a lot of old Peruvian gold, a true work of art! It will make your jaw drop and I love that it is free.

When speaking about Peruvian gold, we can mention the cultures from north Peru like the Chimu culture who were masters of metallurgy. The museum of the BCRP has pieces from northern culture in its collection. You will see that they are perfectly illuminated, giving them a very special and magical touch. You will be left amazed from seeing such high quality works of art and all of them from ancient Peru.

Here is part of the entrance of the Museum's vault so that you can see how secure the Bank was and how carefully it guards the gold and silver artefacts of my Peruvian ancestors:

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The first floor with popular Peruvian art

On the other hand, the first floor shows a contemporary art which respects the foundation of archaeology. For example, the times I have been inside I have seen a lot of jungle art and big pieces of a man and a woman at the side of their stairs.

In addition to a collection of Ayacuchan altarpieces which show a mixture of Peruvian and Spanish culture, many pieces of Andean weaving, as well as samples of current pieces of art. Near the stairs there is a small sample of different coins that have been used throughout the history of Peru. It is a small but very complete museum which has a history for all of us, and there is no problem with taking out your camera because you are allowed to take photos in the museum.

A famous art gallery

In the art gallery, which is located on the top floor, there are pictures from the colonial era until recent times. I suggest you start at the left side because that is where the colonial part starts then you will see little by little, fabulous oil or watercolour paintings.

The BCRP art gallery is a luxurious show, not only because of it's zotano ceramics but also because of its valuable collection of paintings that are in its rooms. There are many renowned authors in addition to portraits of characters who played an important role in the independence of Peru and others that simply show the daily life of people from Lima. There are also indigenous paintings that appeared in the early twentieth century as a way to revalue the indigenous people and make them equal to any Peruvian citizen. As we see art is a great tool to educate and to be tolerant with people who think differently from us, the BCRP Museum will show you through its paintings. You can also find a free guide in the art gallery as well as sometimes groups of school children painting what they see with their teachers.

This image is at the end of the room, the last picture on the right hand side where you can see a lot of people, is one of the ones I like the most because it reflects the different faces of Lima and Peru, we have a mixture of different colours and features:

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Another point to note is that the BCRP museum is on the corner of the pedestrian street Ucayali where you can go to the Maury hotel and have a pisco sour and see the balconies of Torre Tagle which is the chancellery of Peru. Also if it is open, you can visit the San Pedro church. All this is in the same line and it is one of the most beautiful tours that you can go on in the centre of Lima and without spending a single penny. If you go at night you can see a lot of illuminated monuments which are perfect for taking good photos in the city that I love so much.

I hope that you have all enjoyed this explanation. As you can see there are a lot of places in the centre of Lima that you can explore for free like this one. See you soon!

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