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National Museum was once a prison. The anthropological and ethnographic museum is found in the first floor, dedicates to the Muisca and Tayrona cultures. The second level of the museum is dedicated to the study of the Conquest, the Colony, the Independence and the Republic periods. On the third level is the Fine Arts museum which includes contemporary paintings and sculptures.
The National Museum was opened in 1823 to keep and exhibit expressions of Colombian cultural values. The collection now consists of over 20,000 items dating from the earliest traces of the presence of man 12.000 a.C (10.000BC), to work related to the history, art, and ethnography of the indigenous and afro-Colombian peoples of the XX Century. Over its long history, the Museum has been housed in such places as the House of Botany (which no longer exists), Casa de las Aulas, and the Pedro A. Lopez building. Its present home, since 1948, is the fomner Cundinamarca jail, a veritable fortress built between 1874 and 1905 from plans by Thomas Reed. It was classified as a National Monument in 1975.
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