What other national museum do you know of is housed in a former jail? I guess fittingly, considering Colombia’s violent history, the Museo Nacional Colombia (National Museum) is beautifully showcased within the confines of a former jail. Are you thinking it’s as drab and boring as a jail? You’d be wrong; now follow along.
The entrance to Museo Nacional Colombia, and you don’t even need to commit a crime to be admitted!
When I entered the Museo Nacional Colombia I was warmly welcomed with a sign that told me that the museum was free until the end of the year. Unfortunately (fortunately?) rations were not included with entrance to the museum.
Yes, this was built as a jail, not a church. Not much of a difference. . . in architecture.
The architecture of the Museo Nacional was as much of an attraction as the museum itself. The transformation of this building from a dark, uninviting jail, to a bright spectacular national museum is spectacular. It’s worth a visit solely to admire the grand difference which can be made under the guidance of a skilled artisan. Of course there’s much more to explore here than the building itself.
The courtyard. For some reason I don’t think it was this pretty when it was a jail.
Since you read every post that I have ever written thoroughly, it’ll come as no surprise to you that I’m a fan of Fernando Botero. Well what would the Museo Nacional Colombia be without a Botero exhibition? A jail. That’s what. Good thing that the wise men and women in charge of Museo Nacional have included a Botero exhibition. Close call.
Botero’s works from behind the bars. I doubt the prisoners were this lucky.
The Botero exhibition was spectacular. In fact it was good enough that there will be an entire post covering it. I’m sure that you are on pins and needles in anticipation. Stay tuned!
Sweet table. It’d make a nice addition to my place.
Of course the prisoners would need some entertainment and respite from their life behind bars. What better way than a game of billiards? Something tells me that this fantastic table was not part of the original layout of the place. But you never know in Colombia, I mean Pablo Escobar did build his own jail in which he lived in luxury for about a year. I wonder if he used the same architect as the Museo Nacional?
So I’ve enticed you enough with my whimsical prose to visit a jail. Wow, I should join a debate team, or become a politician. (Damn I’m good.) Now all that’s left is how to get to the place. That’s easy. . .
How to Get to Museo Nacional Colombia
You can grab the Transmilenio bus from anywhere in the city and take it to station Calle 26. Walk up the hill (towards the mountains) until you see the giant jail looking building with “Museo Nacional” in big letters on the front of it.
Tell the taxi driver “Museo Nacional por favour”. And don’t slam the car door. They hate that.
Here’s the Museo Nacional de Colombia website.