The captivating city of Lima has an immense and important archaeological, cultural and historical past. A reflection of this can be found in its must- see museums. The museums showcase a range of information and artifacts: from pre-incan to modern times, all give a fascinating insight into the country’s past and present. There is a wonderful museum for everyone and we have created a list for you to select the one you would like to visit during your stay.
Pedro de Osma
This beautiful museum is a large Barranco “casona” style mansion that was actually the summer home of the art collector’s, Pedro de Osma (1901-1967), parents and still belongs to the Osma family. One of the most impressive Peruvian art collections for the fifth to eighteenth centuries can be found on display along with the remarkable 18th century Cusco school paintings, sculptures, furniture, and silver spread around eight rooms. Most noteworthy is The Silver Room that houses a wonderful silver collection which includes utensils, jewelry, religious instruments, relics, and even weapons. The also impressive Hall of Angels and Archangels features artwork of arcabuceros angels. Arcabucero angels are a particular type of angel dressed in clothes inspired by soldiers of 17th century Cusco. This museum provides a great way to see Peruvian art from the 6th to the 18th century AD in a beautiful setting.
This small but impressive museum is located on a quiet Miraflores street and features one of the largest and most beautiful archaeological collection of pre-Colombian Peruvian cultures. The incredible display was opened by a Japanese businessman, Mr. Yoshitaro Amano, who collected objects that had been discarded by tomb raiders and understood the importance of recovering and conserving such items. The spectacular textile collection alone makes it an obligatory stop. Stunning and conveniently located, this is the perfect stop during your time in Lima.
This beautiful contemporary art museum is fittingly located in the bohemian district of Barranco. World-renowned peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino established the museum to showcase established or upcoming peruvian artists. The permanent collection is of course Testino’s celebrity portraits that includes Madonna, Kate Moss and the iconic Princess Diana portraits and dress used during the Vogue photoshoot. The second room of the colonial building always features a peruavin artist. The pretty cafe and museum store filled with fashion pieces are also well worth a visit.
The Art Museum of Lima, also known as MALI is home to the world’s most important collection of Peruvian art. More than 17 000 pieces of pre-Colombian, Colonial, Republican and Modern art. This 18th century vice-royal building is right at the beginning of the historic downtown Lima inside the Exposición Park (consider at least half an hour to stroll the area), and you will find the very extensive collection of museum paintings, photography, artifacts and pottery will keep you fascinated for at least a couple of hours. If you only visit one museum, the MALI with its 3,000 years of Peruvian history, from ancient civilizations to the 20th century art will have you covered.
Founder Rafael Larco Hoyle was an early-20th-century historian whose obsession led him to collect thousands of artifacts from different Peruvian cultures, the collection includes more than 50,000 pots, with ceramic works from the Cupisnique, Chimú, Chancay, Nazca and Inca cultures.A favorite among visitors especially because of its very entertaining and naughty erotic pottery collection from the Moche culture. Moreover, there is a beautiful garden where you can relax and enjoy some traditional Peruvian cuisine from the delicious on-site restaurant. The jewelry room and textile room is no less impressive. The museum itself contrasts beautifully with the lush garden filled with colorful bougainvilleas. Do not miss having lunch in their excellent cafe that offers peruvian and international dishes.
Casa Aliaga is perhaps the oldest colonial mansion in America. Given as a thank you gift by the conqueror of Peru, Francisco Pizarro to fellow Spaniard and supporter, Jerónimo de Aliaga in 1535, when the city of Lima was established. The mansion is located within walking distance from what was once Pizarro’s home, now the Government Palace, and the Aliaga family still resides there to this day. Seventeen generations have lived in this beautiful house filled with antique furniture, relics such as the sword used by Jeronimo de Aliaga and perhaps the oldest chapel in America. It is a rare chance o be able to wander in a house where five different centuries and styles are present, a true legacy of Lima.
The Chocolate Museum has a few locations in Lima but our favorite is the large location on Berlin street in the popular district of Miraflores. As soon as you walk in the smell of chocolate alone will make you smile and never want to leave. Combining history and chocolate, the museum offers a bean to bar workshop where you will learn how to make your own chocolate bars by roasting and grinding cacao beans into a paste and refining it into your very own chocolate bar. Here you will learn about the history of chocolate, fun cacao facts and visit the artisanal factory where they make different types of chocolate products like cacao tea and chocolate liqueur. The staff is super friendly and welcome walk ins to their popular workshops or you can just stop by for some excellent organic chocolate candy bars or pastries.