Museo Arqueologico Gregorio Aguilar Barea
The history behind the creation of the Museo Arqueologico Gregorio Aguilar Barea, or Archeological Museum Gregorio Aguilar Barea, started in 1949, when a group of students began to comb through the countryside in search of valuable artifacts and relics that were left behind by previous generations, forming part of the history of Nicaragua. The former mayor of Juigalpa, Gregorio Aguilar Barea, was the founder and the driving force behind the museum, and it is therefore named in his honor. The Museo Arqueologico Gregorio Aguilar Barea is one of the most treasured attractions in Juigalpa, as it is not only a link to the town’s heritage, but to that of Nicaragua.
Barea and his collegues found so much support for the creation of the museum and its cause from the local community, that villagers who had used relics they had found to decorate their homes, donated their finds to the museum. With a wonderful collection of artifacts and land that was donated for the construction of the museum, the pre-Columbian pieces were finally going to be safe and preserved for future generations. Construction of the museum started in 1962, and it was inaugurated in 1967. Tragically, Gregorio Aquilar Barea died in a car accident on 16 August 1970, but his vision and passion still lives on in the Archeological Museum Gregorio Aguilar Barea.
The massive collection of pre-Columbian artifacts and items is one of the most spellbinding attractions in Juigalpa. It is the range of statues that usually take visitors’ breaths away. The elaborately carved statues, of which some are over seven meters in height, are estimated to be between a thousand to a thousand-five hundred years old, and represent human figures, idols, deities and zoomorphic figures. There are more than a hundred and twenty statues in the museum collection. The museum also has fascinating exhibits featuring taxidermy, gold crafts, paintings, ceramics, stone items, a library, photographs, iconographies and a large ancient coin and banknote collection of local and foreign currency that totals 1163 pieces. There are seventeen relics that are not on display and are kept under lock and key due to their value. They are gold pieces, amulets carried by the authority figures of the time during ceremonies.
The Archeological Museum Gregorio Aguilar Barea keeps within its walls significant artifacts relating to ancient civilizations and tribes that once inhabited Nicaragua. They are a part of the history of the country and are monuments to the past. Visitors will find this museum to be fascinating, breathtaking and educational.