Today I bring a must-go stop for lovers of art and history. It is the Museum of Antioquia, which holds the title of being the first founded in the entire region and the second nationwide.

It has been standing for more than a century, fighting against multiple struggles to make culture and survive in Medellin. This museum has managed to preserve a gigantic collection of pieces where tradition and modernity are mixed. More importantly, it has come to transform society outside its walls.

This place has a great social vocation, reflected in initiatives such as Museo 360, with which it wants to generate a positive impact on the dynamics and problems of the downtown of Medellín, teaching art to the least favored residents of the sector.

For this reason, I am proud to say that my city has a true treasure, within the reach of anyone who wants to spend a few hours among its rooms full of amazing artworks. If you are also a fan of museums, here are some tips for you to make the most of your visit.

Location

The Museum of Antioquia is located in the downtown of Medellín, in the Candelaria sector, at the intersection of Av. Carabobo with Calibío. The exact address is: carrera 52 No. 52-43.

It is close to Plaza Botero, the Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture, Iglesia de la Veracruz, Parque Berrío and the Metro station that has the same name.

Getting there

The go-to option is the Metro transport system. Other options are to take a taxi (or ridesharing apps such as Didi, Uber and Cabify) or take a bus. However, I do not recommend these last alternatives because the streets in the downtown are usually very busy and chaotic.

In case you have a private vehicle and you don’t mind the traffic, the museum has a parking lot at the back, along Carrera 53. It costs $3,500 (0.73 usd) per hour or $15,000 (3.11 usd) for the whole day , and opens from Monday to Saturday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Until 9 PM.

Back to the Metro, keep in mind that the ticket costs $3,280 COP ($0.7 usd). You must get off at the line A station called Parque Berrío, located a few minutes walk from the museum. There are 3 possible exits from the terminal, but don’t get confused.

Exiting the train, head to the scales at the north end of the station (on one side of the platform you will see the red building of the Centro Comercial Flamingo and on the other side the checkered façade of the Palace of Culture). Go down and when you pass the turnstiles take the exit on the right, which will leave you in Bolívar street.

Right in front you will have the Palace of Culture (a large building in gray and black colors, like an exotic chessboard). Further on will be the square with the sculptures by Fernando Botero (also called “gordas”), which will guide you to the entrance of the museum.

In our post about Plaza Botero you can read some warnings about safety in the area. My main advice is to go early, go directly into the palace and then, on the way to the Museo de Antioquia, take quick photos of the statues, without spending too much time wandering around the square.

Open times

The Museum of Antioquia is open from Monday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Sundays they do not receive visitors, as well as the Palace of Culture. So on this day you can look for other plans to do in Medellín such as Parques del Río.

Check the official website of the museum before going. So you can avoid surprises due to changes in the programming. Remember that this is the biggest attraction of the downtown and you will miss a lot if you find it closed.

A free tour in Spanish is offered daily at 2 p.m. Take advantage of it, the museum guides really know what they are talking about and can give you many interesting facts. Unfortunately this is the only tour available, but it is possible to schedule guided tours in advance (I’ll tell you more about it in the prices section).

Admission fee

In the following list you will find the prices and discounts offered by the museum. To access the discounts you must show your identification document at the ticket office, but if you do not want to take the original with you for fear of losing it, they also accept copies.

You can schedule guided tours in Spanish and English as long as you are accompanied by a group of at least 5 people. Write to info@museodeantioquia.co

  • Nationals $14,000
  • Foreigners $21,000 (4.36 usd)
  • Students and people over 60 years of age $10,500
  • Groups of nationals (min 5 people) $9,800 each
  • Groups of foreigners (min 5 people) $14,700 (3.06 usd) each
  • Children under 7 years

History

In 1881 the doors of the Museum and Library of Zea were opened, whose collection is formed by pre-Columbian and colonial art, relics associated with personalities and events of Independence, and some elements of natural history donated by its founders.

Oblivion has been a constant enemy of this entity, which closed indefinitely in the 1920s to give up its space for the construction of the Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture (then the Government Palace).

In the 1950s the museum resurfaced, taking as its official headquarters the building where the first Fábrica de Aguardiente and, later, the Casa de la Moneda operated before. But attendance was low, the facility couldn’t accommodate the entire growing art collection, and its operation was stretched thin.

The situation seemed to change starting in the 1970s, with the start of a long-term relationship between the museum and the artist Fernando Botero, who donated several works from his personal collection in exchange for improving the conditions of the collection. That was when the name of “Museo de Antioquia” was adopted (a decision that caused much controversy at the time).

Even so, by the 1990s the institution was facing imminent bankruptcy. Therefore, both its directives and Botero decided to raise their bets in order to obtain a new headquarters. Finally they obtained the necessary political support to move the museum to its current location in the old Municipal Palace.

This building, executed by the same firm of architects that built El Castillo de los Echavarría, was the first modern-style building in the city, for which it received the decoration of a national monument in 1995. Its restoration, which allowed the creation of more rooms of exhibitions, concluded in 2001 with the inauguration of Plaza Botero.

That was the definitive blow against oblivion, since from that day the museum spreads out onto the streets of Medellín to interact with people and become part of their daily lives.

Inside the museum

The Museum of Antioquia, with its architecture inspired by American Art Deco, has three floors that welcome visitors on each level with murals by Pedro Nel Gómez and sculptures by Fernando Botero.

On the first floor is the ticket office. There you can store belongings if necessary. But don’t leave your camera, because they allow you to take photos without flash in almost all the rooms, except for the third floor (where most of Botero’s works are found).

It is recommended to start the tour on the last level, which has the Permanent Rooms of Fernando Botero and International Art. In case you don’t want to go up and down the stairs, at the bottom of the building you will find an elevator that makes mobility much easier.

On the second floor are the South Permanent Room, called Promises of Modernity, and the North Permanent Room, called Histories to Rethink; an encounter between the past and the contemporary, the artists from Antioquia and the artists beyond our borders.

Finally, on the first floor, the tour culminates with the Colonial and Republican Room, the Intercultural Dialogue Room and the rest of the temporary exhibitions. There are more than 15 rooms, so going through all of them can take between 2 and 3 hours.

Artworks

The permanent collection has more than 5,000 pieces, ranging from elements of Colombia’s archaeological heritage to contemporary art, all preserved in the best conditions.

Here you will be able to appreciate works in various formats by famous exponents such as Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Alejandro Obregón, Francisco Antonio Cano, Débora Arango and, of course, Fernando Botero, the most outstanding living artist in the world.

His donations made between 1974 and 2012 inhabit a large part of the museum. In them you will recognize a marked style called Boterismo, characterized by the presence of exaggeratedly voluminous figures that constitute their own, cartoonish and disturbing world.

Shop

On the first floor, next to the entrance, is the museum shop with a fairly varied offer of stationery items, accessories, kitchen utensils, jewelry and even posters with reproductions of the works inside the museum.

If you want to rest or maybe eat something after the tour, the coffee laboratory awaits you on the other side of the entrance, with baristas who make this drink another work of art.