Museo Santuarios Andinos
One of Peru’s most interesting museums, dedicated to the high-altitude archaeology pioneered by U.S. anthropologist Johan Reinhard, is the Museo Santuarios Andinos (La Merced 110, tel. 054/21-5013, www.ucsm.edu.pe/santury, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun., US$4, US$1.50 students).
The museum contains the mummy of 13-year-old Juanita, the Ice Maiden of Ampato, an Inca human sacrifice recovered from the summit of Ampato (6,312 meters). The discovery was chosen by Time magazine as one of the world’s 10 most important scientific discoveries of 1995.
There are also 18 other mummies discovered on volcano tops in Peru, Chile, and Argentina, along with the textiles, gold, wood carvings, and ceramics found in their tombs—a rare chance to see Inca art overlooked by both the Spaniards and modern-day grave robbers. Included in the entry fee is an obligatory, excellent one-hour tour that includes a documentary made by National Geographic.
Museo Histórico Municipal
Near San Francisco Church is the Museo Histórico Municipal (Plaza San Francisco, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., US$0.75), with a naval museum, portrait gallery of Arequipa’s elites, historical photographs of the city, and a series of caricatures and paintings by local artist Jorge Vinatea Reynoso (1900–1931).
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo
The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Arica 201, near Arequipa, tel. 054/22-1068, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Fri., 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sat.–Sun., US$2.50) is situated across the old train station, housed in a 1900s mansion built for the manager of the Peruvian Corporation, the English train company that built most of Peru’s rail lines from the 1870s onward.
The museum has an interesting collection of 20th-century art, including photographs by the brothers Miguel and Carlos Vargas, who mentored Martín Chambi, the famed Cusco photographer. The museum showcases an interesting range of young local artists heavily influenced by the horrors of the Shining Path terrorist movement, along with a few paintings from Peru’s most famous painters, such as Fernando de Szyszlo and Enrique Polanco, among others.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition