For the First Time Ever: Government Creates a National Art Museum of Guatemala

The Munag is in the Cultural Center Real Palacio de los Capitanes, in Antigua Guatemala.

by Pamela Contreras
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Guatemala City, by Jenny Herrera -AGN-. For the first time, the Guatemalan government created the National Art Museum of Guatemala -Munag- in the Cultural Center Real Palacio de los Capitanes in Antigua Guatemala. This magnificent building dates back to the 17th century and witnessed important events.

President Alejandro Giammattei promoted actions for its opening through the Ministry of Culture and Sports -MCD-.

The first phase, with 842 square meters of space to exhibit and showcase more than 90 pieces from the pre-Hispanic era, was delivered in September 2021. These pieces, abandoned, stored in museum warehouses and archaeological sites, and exhibited abroad, were recovered and restored.

During the second delivery, the Minister of Culture and Sports, Felipe Aguilar, said, “I dreamed of a museum that tells the world about the wonders of our cultural richness, the same desire shared by our president, who asked for the Munag to be in Antigua Guatemala.”

Guatemala is a stunning country, and valuing more than three thousand years of cultural richness is essential. It deserves to have art that brings to life its pre-Hispanic past, passing through the colonial and republican periods until reaching the contemporary and modern. At Munag, visitors can appreciate more than 90 historical masterpieces illustrating the past.

Also, at the Munag, visitors can appreciate one of the creations of the Guatemalan artist Tomás de Merlo, the painting Ecce Homo, as well as the Eucharistic Supper by Cristóbal de Villapando and The Christ of the Angels by Juan José Rosales, which expert conservators of the Institute of Anthropology and History of Guatemala restored.

Halls and Pieces

The first phase consisted of 7 galleries, while in August 2022, the second phase was delivered with 22 halls. The most ancient pieces displayed are the Offering of the Maidens and the Garment of King K’utz Chman.

These pieces date from 350 B.C. to 850 B.C. and were located in the Tak’alik Ab’aj National Archaeological Park, El Asintal, Retalhuleu. It is one of the most important discoveries to date in Mesoamerica.

President Giammattei highlighted that this museum keeps the Independence Act of Guatemala and the will of Saint Hermano Pedro, among other historical pieces. During the act of the second delivery, he said:

“I am proud of the work done. I am moved. I realize how we found it and how it is turning out. Culture is an economic development engine that should be admired, protected, and shared with priceless masterpieces.”

National Art

The Munag shows the greatness of national art in every hall, gallery, and masterpiece exhibited. It is unique in its category in Guatemala and Central America.

Visitors will learn about the treasures of Guatemalan art in its different expressions and demonstrations. The museum is equipped with high technology, audio guides to enrich the experience, cameras, and strict security measures to protect each of the treasures on the walls and hallways.

President Alejandro Giammattei and the minister of culture reaffirmed their commitment to promoting and spreading the heritage assets that make Guatemala a country with more than three thousand years of cultural richness.

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