Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The National Museum is the oldest in the country and one of the oldest in the continent. It was founded in 1823. Its fortress architecture is built in stone and brick. The building has a solid wall facade and includes arches, vaults and columns forming a sort of Greek cross over which 104 prison cells are distributed. The building was first built in 1874 to serve as a prison. It was known as the Panóptico and was used until 1946. It was built to substitute different facilities that were used for this purpose in Bogotá, which caused it to be the biggest construction project in the city during the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1948, the building was adapted to house the National Museum and it was restored in 1975. The latest works in the building consisted in a significant modernization of the exhibition halls and the service areas. This gave it the necessary advantages to be at the forefront of cultural activity in Colombia.
The museum houses a collection of over 20,000 pieces including works of art and objects representing different national history periods. Permanent exhibitions present archaeological and ethnographic samples, ranging from remains and artifacts of the people in Colombian territory (dating 10,000 years BC) up to twentieth century indigenous and afro-Colombian art and culture manifestations. The Sala de los Fundadores y del Nuevo Reino de Granada (Founders and New Kingdom of Granada Room) houses a rich iconography of the Liberators and different Spanish power figures. The round room exhibits a series of oil paintings that summarize Colombia painting history.
Specially interesting is the selection of 57 works by Colombian masters Fernando Botero, Alejandro Obregón and Guillermo Wiedemann. The museum has a beautiful Coffee-Store Shop next to the North garden of the building. It is a cozy place, decorated with replicas of art and historical objects, which serves as a restaurant and a store. The Pavilion Café is next to it and offers various preparations of this traditional national drink.