I am a fan of alliteration, but I think that “marvelous” is kind of a stuffy word. So why use it? Because it’s based on the word marvel, which in noun form means something astonishing and in verb form means to be filled with wonder. Both of those uses are just perfect for the Museo de Oro in Bogota.
I went to the gold museum in Lima several years ago and was overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of stuff. At Bogota’s gold museum, the number of artifacts is equally impressive. However, the presentation is impeccably well done. You ease your way in with single items of a manageable size and design.
As your brain adjusts, the Museo de Oro starts to turn up the heat. The museum is free on Sundays (US$2 other days), and we found the audio guides to be worth the extra money (US$4). The layout takes you through the history of gold working, and the guide is supremely informative. Due to time constraints, we didn’t listen to it all, but you could easily spend a few hours.
The most creative exhibit was probably a chamber that immersed us in total darkness. As shamanic music started playing, lights around the room slowly came up to reveal eye-opening quantities of gold. It’s probably a good thing this is toward the end of the museum, since I think my brain would have exploded if I hadn’t already gotten used to the idea of just how much gold these pre-Columbian cultures used.
My favorite thing about the Museo de Oro, however, was realizing just how many of the decorative objects and accessories could be used today. Were the goldsmiths so much before their time, or is fashion really that cyclical? I would wear those gold-beaded rings and could see the necklace hanging in a top jeweler’s window.
And these? I didn’t read to see what they were for back in the day because I was too busy coveting them for my apartment. Hung above the dining room table somehow converted into a lamp? Yes, please.
The Museo de Oro has got to be one of the best museums out there. It offers both art and history and has plenty of items that impress with their sheer size, both large and small. Both Rodolfo and I agreed it was a highlight of our trip, and if we ever make it back to Bogota, we’ll definitely make a return visit here as well.
More in this series:
Heading to Bogota with Roomorama
The view from Cerro Monserrate
The Botero Museum will make you smile
Taking a Bogota bike tour
Andrés Carne de Res: Bogota’s craziest restaurant
The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá
The truth about Bogota