From pre-Columbian gold riches to the erotic pottery of the Moche, Lima is home to many of Peru’s most sacred artifacts and artworks. Lima’s museums are a treasure trove of history awaiting to be discovered. Our recommended list of museums to visit in Peru highlight some of the most popular museums to explore and the exhibitions you won’t want to miss.
Top 7 Museums to visit in Lima, the most popular museums to explore
1. MALI – Museum of Art Lima
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9am – 10pm. Closed Monday
3,500 years of Peruvian artworks, pre-Columbian artifacts and colonial furniture are housed in one of the largest museum buildings in Lima. The ‘Palace of the Exhibition’ building was designed by the Eiffel Company in 1872 and is home to 17,000 permanent works of indigenous art, textiles, pottery, silverware and contemporary art pieces. Temporary exhibitions on the first floor highlight intriguing local and international exhibitions. With so much to explore, we recommend planning to spend a few hours here.
Paseo Colón 125, Downtown
Tel. +51 (1) 204-0000
2. MUSEO AMANO
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am-5pm (Monday by appointment only).
The Amano museum in Lima boasts a remarkable collection of Pre-Columbian lace and textile arts. History lovers can take a walk-through Peru’s rich textile past, viewing pieces from the Chavín, Nasca, Chimú, Chancay, and Inca cultures.
For a truly immersive experience, Aracari can arrange for guests to visit the museum’s archives. Here, cabinets can be opened, and guests can get up close and personal with textiles developed by the Chancay culture.
Calle Retiro 160, Miraflores
Tel. +51 (1) 441-2909
3. MUSEO LARCO
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9am – 10pm
Wander through a viceregal hacienda, a beautiful 18th century white-washed building, which is now home to the largest private collection of Pre-Columbian artifacts in Peru. The exhibition spaces in Museo Larco are beautifully maintained and there are dedicated areas displaying textiles, gold and silverware. There is a vast collection of ceramics from different pre-Columbian cultures, but without doubt one of the most popular attractions to the museum is the exhibit on erotic pottery, that dates back to the Moche period (500 AD).
If you’re visiting during lunch or dinner time then the Museum’s delicious on-site restaurant is also recommended and open throughout the day. Tasteful replicas of the jewelry and artefacts can also be purchased from the Museo Larco gift shop.
Av. Bolívar 1515, Pueblo Libre
Tel. +51 (1) 461-1835 / 461-1312
4. PEDRO DE OSMA MUSEUM
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10am – 6pm Closed Monday
A typically under-the-radar museum among tourists, this beautiful beaux-arts mansion and manicured gardens contains an exquisite collection of colonial furniture, silverwork and art dating back to the 1500s. Additionally, you’ll want to explore the Pre-Columbian wing that is dedicated to the origin of the Incas. The wing displays artifacts such as pottery and jewelry from the Tihuanacu and Inca cultures.
Our advice is to purchase a double ticket at the museum to visit both Pedro de Osma and the Mario Testino Museum (MATE) at a reduced cost. A triple ticket can also be purchased to include the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) when there is a temporary exhibition on show.
Av. Pedro de Osma 421, Barranco
Tel. +51 (1) 467-0141 / 467-0063
5. MUSEO DEL BANCO CENTRAL DE RESERVA
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 9am – 5pm (Opens until 7pm on Wednesdays). Closed Sunday and Monday.
Located within the original national bank of Peru, this free admission museum brings to mind the expression “good things come in small packages”. Fittingly the basement floor stores a wonderful collection of pre-Columbian Gold coins. Pablo Macera’s collection of traditional Festive masks is also a curious attraction. A small range of traditional arts and crafts are showcased on the ground floor and don’t forget to peruse the contemporary art located on the museum’s upper level.
Jirón Lampa 474 (Corner of Jr. Lampa and Jr. Ucayalii), Lima
Tel. +51 (1) 613-2000
6. MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART (MAC)
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10am – 6pm. Closed Monday
MAC’s aim is to promote contemporary visual arts in Peru. Inside this highly modern museum’s three main spaces visitors can examine a range of contemporary art collections that encompass; optical art, abstract expressionism, constructivism, conceptual art, geometric art, surrealism and works influenced by pop art.
On-site there is a café, La Bodega Verde, which is a tranquil spot to enjoy a bite to eat. When there are temporary exhibitions at MAC, purchase a triple ticket at the museum to visit MAC, Pedro de Osma and MATE at a reduced cost.
Av. Grau 1511, Barranco
Tel. +51 (1) 514-6800
7. LUM – PLACE OF MEMORY, TOLERANCE AND SOCIAL INCLUSION
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10am – 6pm. Closed on Sundays.
A museum for those who are interested in Peru’s more recent history, in particular the period between 1980 and 2000. During these years’ terrorism and violent conflict between the Government of Peru, the Communist Party of Peru (i.e. Shining Path) and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement deeply troubled the people of Peru. The museum’s three exhibition floors educate visitors about the impact of the conflict and tells the story of how peace and tolerance in society was restored. A museum that has a special place in the heart of all Peruvians.
Bajada Calle San Martin 151, Miraflores
Tel. +51 (1) 719 2065
We hope you’ll enjoy discovering our list of the best museums in Lima. If you have a special interest or limited time to visit the museums in Lima, then we encourage you to speak to an Aracari travel consultant about your creating a bespoke itinerary during your stay in Lima.