Folklore Museum and Arenal Park

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The Folklore Museum (Museo Etno-folklorico) of Santa Cruz, Bolivia is temporarily closed but will re-open. It houses a collection of implements and artifacts used by native peoples of Eastern Bolivia. It was located inside a small building on the corner of Avenida Beni at Parque Arenal, a popular tour stop. However in 2009 the park underwent major renovations and re-opened on May 30, 2010. The Museum itself will not yet re-open. There is a second phase of renovations to come and at that time a new building will be constructed for the museum.

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In the meantime...

The municipality has taken it down during renovations but it will eventually be rebuilt. In the meantime, some of the artifacts that were housed in the museum are in storage and some have been sent to the Centro Cultural in the Villa 1ro. de Mayo neighborhood. This cultural center is located right behind the "Sub-alcaldía Municipal" (that's the sub-section of the Santa Cruz Mayor's Office that operates in this neighborhood).

You can also see similar items featuring the native cultures that are indigenous to Santa Cruz just one block from the city's central plaza Plaza 24 de Septiembre, in the Regional History Museum (Museo de Historia Regional) across from the post office (Correo).

For more information on Parque Arenal and its renovation phases, contact the Mayor's Office at (591-3) 371-5000. For more information on the Museo Etnográfico (Folklore Museum) call the Municipal Library at (591-3) 335-0811 and speak to Claudia Requena, who is the Director of the "Plan Municipal para el Fomento a la Lectura". A portion of the documents housed in the Folklore Museum are now being kept at the Municipal Library (which is the big brick building with a plaza located directly across from the tall blue building (our district court building) on the corner of Monseñor Rivero and the 1st ring.

The goal of this museum is to highlight the history of the native peoples of Eastern Bolivia. The museum houses musical instruments, weapons, tools, utensils, and some interesting masks that depict some of the characters in the traditional myths and legends of the Guaraní, Ayoreos, Guarayos, and other cultures.

You can also see some typical dance costumes, many made from natural elements like feathers, wood, and leather. There are signs next to almost every piece in the museum, but they're in Spanish. Most hotels and/or travel agencies provide a tour to this museum. It's a very popular stop on city tours.

Parque Arenal
(about 7 blocks North, 4 blocks East of the central plaza)
Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
Hours: 9-12 a.m. and 3-6 p.m.
Admission: free of charge, donations appreciated.

If you enjoy learning about cultures and history, this is really a great (though small) museum to visit. For more information read my page on the Arenal Park where you should also plan to spend some time. It's a nice plaza to walk through, has a pretty view of the lake and fountain.

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