Taking the Family to Cusco’s Machu Picchu Museum
Cusco is known as the gateway to Machu Picchu. Therefore, it is no surprise that it has an excellent museum containing the world’s largest collection of Machu Picchu artifacts. The Machu Picchu Museum at Casa Concha features a diorama of the ruins, videos, and Incan artifacts found during the restoration and building of Casa Concha. It is the perfect place for anyone who loves history and archeology.
What You Will See
The location of the Casa Concha house was initially the residence of the royal lineage of Tupac Inka Yupanqui. The house was built on top of these foundations in the seventeenth century as the palace of Admiral Francisco Aldrete Maldonado.
Throughout the twentieth century, the house served as an army barracks and a police station. The government finally donated the house to the San Antonia Abad University. The National Institute of Culture lead the restoration efforts on the home. As an example of these efforts, those traveling through the central patio will first see the glass-covered excavation pit that reveals the buried Inca floor.
Visitors will see over 300 artifacts and fragments excavated when Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu in the early 1900s as well as pictures of the site from that period. Back in 1912, American explorer Hiram Bigham brought a team to excavate Machu Picchu, taking over 4,000 artifacts back to Yale University.
However, the Peruvian government recently campaigned for the return of these items, claiming them as stolen from Peru. After several years, the US government returned the artifacts in 2011. Today, the museum houses the largest collection of Inca objects in the world.
All of these artifacts are in excellent condition, which is astonishing. Most are complete and in their original form. Also, there are even more fragments from the excavations, but they are not on display so that national and international researchers can study them. However, this does mean the museum may display more artifacts in the future!
Besides the artifacts, there are videos to watch and a real “Inka house” to see. Guests can explore an exhibit room filled with bones found in the excavation, including several skulls and a full human body!
Curious travelers can also look at the “Inka” mummies and observe skulls showcasing evidence of advanced brain surgery for the time. Metallurgy and Metalwork were important to the Incans, and there is also a room that features the different metal tools found.
Visitors can view the large scale model of Machu Picchu. This model also comes with an informative video from Yale University’s Professor Richard L. Burger. One can explore the ruins virtually in an interactive exhibit. There’s also the Ongoing Investigations Room.
This exhibit shows how modern archeology techniques continue to reveal more about the lives of ancient Machu Picchu residents. Today, archeologists identify Machu Picchu as a retreat for Incan royalty, occupied between the years 1450 and 1540 and boasting plentiful food and no hard labor.
The top floor features a souvenir shop where visitors can see some buyable “artifacts” made in front of them.
Location, Hours, and Admission
The Machu Picchu Museum is located at 320 Santa Catalina Ancha.The museum is open Monday through Saturday from nine am to five pm and closed on Sundays.
General admission is 20 soles. However, there are exclusive discounts for Peruvians and Peruvian students, as well as international students.
Autism Travel Tips:
- The museum isn’t super hands-on, but there are a lot of interesting exhibits and videos to see and some touch screen videos
- The museum itself has plenty of space for people to walk around and check out the exhibits.
- Parents should expect to spend about two hours exploring all parts of the museum.
- The museum is an entirely indoor location with air conditioning.
- There are benches for visitors to sit down and take a break. Also, the slow paced videos give visitors extra time to absorb the information.