Lima is the capital of Peru and it is a city that in the last 10 years has seen a reputation change. For the last few years, the city was thought to be dangerous, dirty, and not worth visiting. But things are changing fast and it’s a good idea to spend a few days of your vacation time in the city. Quickly becoming the gastronomic destination of South America, Lima is taking a position in the tourist market. Even the city recently won the award for the best gastronomic destination in the world at the World Travel Awards. But good food is not all that Lima has to offer. While in town, be sure to visit the Larco Museum. This is located in the San Miguel district, not far from the historic center of Lima. Therefore, together with the travel experts of Machu Travel Peru, we have proposed an article with everything you need to know about the Larco Museum.
Everything you need to know about the Larco Museum in Lima
- About the Larco museum
- Exhibition rooms of the museum
- What is special about the museum?
- What to do in the Museum
- Enjoy Lima and the surroundings
ABOUT THE LARCO MUSEUM
The museum was founded in 1926 by Rafael Larco Hoyle. It is located in an 18th-century Spanish colonial mansion on the ruins of a 7th-century pyramid. The museum houses one of the best ceramic collections in Peru. Mapping over 3,000 years of Peruvian history, the collection features ceramics from the four most important cultural regions of Peru. Among them are the north coast, the center, the south, and the highlands. The collection includes more than 50,000 ceramics from the Cupisnique, Chimú, Chancay, Moche, Nazca, and Inca cultures, all presented in large, well-lit display cases.
But the museum not only houses ceramics but there is also a fine collection of gold and precious metals from the different cultures of Peru. Try not to miss the collection of fabrics from the Wari culture, some of which hold the record 398 threads per linear inch. It’s considered a great achievement for an ancient culture. Many of the works still feature the wonderful colors used by ancient people. As part of your tour of the different historical buildings in Lima, be sure to visit this impressive place.
EXHIBITION ROOMS OF THE MUSEUM
If you are touring the city with a travel guide, be sure to remind them to visit the Larco Museum. The museum in its mission to make the development of ancient cultures more understandable is divided into different exhibition areas. Among which you will be able to observe in chronological order how these were evolving until their splendor and fall. Among the exhibition areas you can find:
- Introduction Room: Upon entering the museum you will come across this room. The small introductory room tells the story of Rafael Larco Hoyle. Briefly introduce the biography of the museum’s founder, such as his collection and the history of the Museo Larco. All this along with a timeline that helps visitors understand the development of the Andean civilization.
- Gallery of Cultures: This site covers Peruvian history from 5000 BC to the Inca period before the Spanish conquest. The culture gallery consists of three main rooms that feature ceramic objects, stone works, and woodworks used by various cultures of ancient Peru. All exhibits are arranged by region and chronologically, covering more than 6000 years of pre-Columbian history.
- Textile Room: Inside the Textile Room you can see amazing examples of technological and artistic mastery of ancient weavers. Alpaca and vicuña wool was used to weave garments since the earliest phases of civilization in the Andes. It was also used for articles of daily use among other things. But with the advancement of technologies and skills, the parts became more and more sophisticated.
- Sacrificial Ceremony Room: This area of the museum introduces visitors to the ancient practices of ancient Peru. Offerings, including human sacrifices, were very common among ancient cultures. Often these religious practices were considered sacred acts to thank or pay tribute to the gods.
- Ceremonial Vessels Room: Inside this room, you will find a large selection of ceremonial vessels. These include cups, bowls, keros, and aquillas. Ancient religious ceremonies were related to fertility, sacrifice, and the cult of the dead. And these ceremonies involved fermented drinks, sacrificial blood, water, and other liquids that needed to be contained.
- Gold and Jewelry Gallery: Inside this room, you will find an exhibition of pre-Columbian pieces made of gold, silver, copper, and a variety of other metals. This gallery spans more than five rooms and you can find ceremonial pieces, funerary objects, and ornaments used by priests and rulers.
- Erotic art gallery: In a separate part of the museum you can find the erotic art gallery. In this exhibition, you can find one of the largest archaeological collections of sexual representations. This provides an approach to the perception of ancient Peruvian cultures to sexuality. This is one of the most popular areas of the museum.
- Storage room: The Larco museum is one of the few museums in the world that offers the possibility of visiting the storage room. You will have the possibility to admire more than 35,000 ceramic artifacts from different ancient cultures. Considering that only about 5% of a museum’s collection is on display, this is a great opportunity.
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE MUSEUM?
There are a few things that distinguish the Larco museum from other museums that you will visit anywhere in the world. The first thing to mention is that you can visit the large and amazing ceramic storage facility that has around 45,000 vessels. Please note that they are all organized and labeled by topic and chronology. Another interesting part of the museum is the special room dedicated to erotic archaeological treasures. The collection of ceramic vessels portrays a variety of sexual positions and acts. Much of the erotic vessels were destroyed by the Spanish conquerors. Since they were mortified by the explicit nature of the pottery. But fortunately many survived the passage of time and are on display today in the museum. Being able to visit this incredible museum is one of the best things to do in Lima.
WHAT TO DO IN THE MUSEUM
The Larco Museum will give you a great insight into the cultures of Peru and a great way to start your Peruvian tour. Besides, not far from it are other no less important museums. Just a 15-minute walk from the museum are other interesting museums to visit. Among them, you can find the National Museum of Anthropology and the Museum of Archeology and History of Peru. A visit to all three will give you great insight into the history and culture of this fascinating country.
While you’re in the museum, try Café Del Museum. This is located in the charming private gardens of the museum. This is a wonderful place to enjoy lunch after finishing your museum visit. After your visit, you can choose to take a tour of the different museums in the city. Not all are about history, a great example is the Lima art museum. Within this, you will have the opportunity to know the art scene of the city.
ENJOY LIMA AND THE SURROUNDINGS
While in Lima, it is vitally important that you take advantage of your stay. The best time to visit Lima is during the summer, as you can go to the different beaches. After you visit the Larco museum, you can choose to try some of the best restaurants in Lima. Fortunately, the Peruvian capital has three restaurants listed among the fifty best in the world. We are talking about Maido, Central, and Astrid & Gastón. Keep in mind that you will need to book in advance to enjoy the delights of these three incredible places.
However, if you don’t have the budget for these exclusive venues, don’t worry. There is a wide variety of tasty restaurants throughout the city. The amazing street food and local market stalls around the Plaza de Armas of Lima are also worth trying. But always be careful about choosing where to eat, as you don’t want to start your trip with an upset stomach. Also, from Lima, you can travel to a wide variety of places. On the different day trips from Lima, you will have the possibility of knowing incredible attractions.
“REAL MUSEUMS ARE PLACES WHERE TIME IS TRANSFORMED INTO SPACE.”
As you may have read, a visit to the Larco Museum is a must on the different tours in Peru. If you plan to spend a few days in the Peruvian capital, be sure to reserve a day for the museum tour. This place is key to begin to understand the historical transformations of the many cultures that lived in Peru. Together with the experts from Machu Travel Peru, we hope we have been helpful. If you want to know more about our tours of the city, be sure to consult with our qualified advisors.