The Regional History Museum (Museo de Historial Regional) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia houses archeological pieces uncovered during the excavation of the Bolivia-Brazil pipeline in the late 1990's. It also contains a library and document archive dating as far back as 1600. "Regional" refers to the Department of Santa Cruz.
MUSEUM OF REGIONAL HISTORY
Calle Junín #151 between Libertad and España
(directly across from the city's main post office)
(the museum has no sign - just an old brown door)
Santa Cruz - Bolivia - No admission fee
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 to 12:00 and 3:00 to 6:00
Theater: Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 8:30 to 10:00 p.m.
The museum is managed by the Gabriel René Moreno Autonomous University and has three permanent exhibits. The archeological pieces mentioned above are located on the third floor. The building was constructed in 1915. Most construction materials were imported from Argentina (as were its pretty stained glass windows) and most interior decor was imported from Paris by the original owners of this building, which used to be a private home.
One exhibit features the Chiquitano Culture and focuses on their lives in the rainforest. It contains information, images and pieces relating to the history, ethnology, architecture, and religion of the native peoples of this region (Guaraní, Ayoreo, Guarayos, Chané and others). This exhibit shows how they lived in complete harmony with their natural habitat and also demonstrates their deep knowledge of the plants they use for medicinal and other purposes in daily life. This is located on the first floor to your right when you enter. There is also a souvenir store on this floor with many Chiquitano hand-made artifacts.
The second exhibit is about pre-Hispanic (pre-Colonial) cultures in Eastern Bolivia and features the pieces found during the excavation of the pipeline. There are complete pieces, archeological remains, and photos of the places where the pieces were found. There is also some explanation of the techniques used to uncover and recover the pieces.
One space features a historical documentary in the form of paintings by Carlos Cirbián called "Relevant Historical Milestones of Santa Cruz de la Sierra". Two additional salons frequently contain rotating or temporary exhibits of modern art. It is located just behind the "Casa de la Cultura" and "Palacio" Movie Theater, with an entrance on Junín Street.
The building the museum is housed in used to belong to one of the "high society" families of Santa Cruz and when it was taken over by the government it was used by various government entities prior to being turned over to the University to run as a historical archive and museum.
The Museum of Regional History offers various venues to the public in addition to its permanent exhibits including temporary or season exhibits, and shows and concerts in its small theater. Academic and research workshops and seminars are also held here, and it houses a historical archive with documents that date between 1614 and 1910. The third exhibit (the museum library) is open to the public, but the archive is available to view only after an interview with management.