Leticia’s Ethnographic Museum is a window on Amazon culture

Ethnographic Museum of Leticia, Colombia
Ethnographic Museum of Leticia, Colombia

Feathered headdresses, ceremonial wood carvings and hunting arrows are just some of the objects on display at the new Ethnographic Museum of Leticia. The capital of Amazonas department is an important commercial hub located on the banks of the majestic Amazon river and gateway to Peru and Brazil.

After a renovation that lasted more than two years, anthropologist Roberto Pineda Camacho was in charge of creating a new narrative for the museum, and one based around an invaluable collection donated by Minor Capuchin friar, Antonio Jover Laman?a, in 1960.

To best showcase the many objects, the Ethnographic Museum of the Banco de la Repu?blica worked closely with the Bogota?-based Gold Museum and decided to structure the exhibition around three themes, starting with the Outer Journey.

The Outer Journey covers 11,000 years of pre-history from when the first inhabitants settled the Amazon River Basin to the extraction of rubber in the 19th century. The Inner Journey presents the pre-Hispanic past and the immense cultural and linguistic diversity of the Colombian Amazon.

In the Ethnographic Chamber, hundreds of objects from three of the more than 50 ethnic groups living today in the region — Uitoto, Yukunas and Ticunas — are exhibited. These objects also reveal the important role of sacred plants in the ritual celebrations of the Yukunas and rites of passage of the Ticuna.

When it opened in 1988, the Ethnographic Museum established a close relationship with Leticia and was a meeting place between the local indigenous peoples and museum professionals.

It hopes to keep that tradition going, after it officially re-opened December 1st. The new museum includes a library, children’s room, a regional documentation center and garden of medicinal plants.

The new curatorial script is presented in both Spanish and English, and admission is free.


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