Friday Heirloom 2019

Friday Heirloom 106: Museo Colonial + Museo Santa Clara, Bogotá

Museums for good: what are you about, if not participation, inclusion and accessibility?

When it comes to searching for museums with an impact on their communities, on a worldwide scale, one cannot escape the wonders of two colossal Bogotá-based institutions, namely Museo Colonial and Museo Santa Clara.

Museo Colonial - Fachada

Museo Colonial - Mono de la Pila

Museo Colonial

Museo Santa Clara - fachada

Museo Santa Clara - concierto

Museo Santa Clara

I first learned about these two during this year’s American Alliance of Museums‘ meeting in New Orleans. As I was documenting the Getty fellows’ reunions, I got the chance to chat with Viviana, who came all the way from Colombia to be there with us. We exchanged numbers (as we all did among the Getty fellows) and they quickly introduced me to Juan, Press Manager at the museums.


Thank you Viviana for showing us your museum catalogs!


What a crew! #AAM2019

On a hot, late-June afternoon (at least in the very South of Italy), Juan and I Skyped. Juan is one of those gentle and charismatic leaders who recently joined the museum field and whose voice reminded me of the beauty of Latin America. Between a flawless English and a few Spanish idioms, they painted a social picture of Museo Colonial and Museo Santa Clara for me.

Among the different accessibility and inclusion programs and projects the museums implement to make more people enjoy the colonial heritage on a yearly basis, the following five really stood out to me:


A ceramic workshop for people with visual disabilities. This is a brand new activity and a brilliant one, creating an inclusive museum environment for the public with visual impairments, who, during four sessions of two hours each, is given the chance to know the collections and develop manual skills to perform their own works. The workshops are managed by the Rehabilitation Center for Blind Adults, also known in Spanish as CRAC, which is a non-profit (private) foundation dedicated to the rehabilitation of people with visual disabilities.

#HandsOn with CRAC (1)

#HandsOn with CRAC (1)

A few photos from the workshop 


Workshops for women. Joining the commemoration of the National Day for the Dignity of Women Victims of Sexual Violence in the context of the armed conflict, on May 25th, the Santa Clara Museum organizes a series of workshops to raise awareness on the dominance that institutions have had on women throughout history. The workshops are supported by Fundación Tejidos del Viento.

Conversatorio mujeres (1)

Conversatorio mujeres (4)

A few photos from the workshop 


Workshop for children “One Humanity”. Through this workshop, the museums seek to nurture the ethical values ​​and spirituality of children and young people. Organized by Learning to Live Together volunteers and developed by the Interfaith Council for Ethical Education for Children (in close collaboration with UNESCO and UNICEF), the program seeks to contribute to a healthy physical, mental, spiritual and moral development of all children.

Talleres con niños (1)

Talleres con niños (2)

Talleres con niños (6)

A few photos from the workshop 


Live Culinary ExchangeThe objective of this workshop is to create a space for dialogue among people of diverse backgrounds. Through traditional knowledge related to cooking and agriculture, the museums’ aim is to create an experience in which citizens and chefs interact by sharing and discovering knowledge on cultivation and cooking, all in a community and collaborative space.

Intercambio Culinario 02

Intercambio culinario 01

A few photos from the exchange


Participatory construction of the garden-nursery in the Colonial Museum. This is an initiative developed with Casa B through which the community will be given the opportunity to learn how to build a garden-nursery in their own homes. Its aim is to support the Colonial Museum in creating new channels of relation with the public by activating new contents, thus giving the museums a renewed aura.

Huerta Urbana 01

Huerta Urbana 02

A few shots from the garden-nursery construction workshop

After learning from Viviana and Juan about these wonderful, community-centered programs and initiatives ongoing at Museo Colonial and Museo Santa Clara, I am more and more aware of the power of museums in helping people navigate hard times. Being born and raised in Italy, a country rich in heritage but whose art institutions are (still) poor in social power, I realize how impactful museums can be when it comes to fostering a culture of unity and comprehension in their surrounding territories.

What do you all think? I would love to hear your thoughts, and please feel free to share any information on great community projects that are currently being implemented at your local museums or institutions.

For more information on Museo Colonial and Museo Santa Clara, feel free to check out their websites here.

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