Although Puerto Rico has a staggering amount of pristine beaches lined with palm trees and visitors could spend an entire day doing nothing but drinking coconut smoothies in the shade, it is important to keep in mind that this small Caribbean island has so much more to offer. Puerto Rico is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites and has a diverse history which makes it much more than just another typical island in the sun. Celebrating Puerto Rico’s unique place in the world are the multitude of museums that showcase the finest achievements in art, music and history. From the home of the great cellist Pablo Casals to the National Gallery of Art, the collections and the sheer number of exhibits may prove overwhelming to even the most avid museum visitor. Consider visiting these top museums on your visit to Puerto Rico.
1. Galeria Nacional – National Gallery
Located inside the oldest part of the capital city of San Juan, the National Gallery contains its artistic treasures within the ancient walls of the Dominican monastery between the streets of Norzagaray Street and the San José Church. The collection holds some of the most famous paintings from Puerto Rico’s most renowned painters like José Campeche, Francisco Oller, Augusto Marín and Rafael Tufiño. Stretching from the realism of the 18th century to more Modern-style paintings, the collection is expansive and can take several hours to view. In addition to the paintings, the museum also houses several santos, or small wooden figurines that represent Catholic saints. These figurines hold an important place in the collective heart of Puerto Rico, not only as relics of the past Colonial era, but also as a connection to the future.
2. Museo del Niño – Children’s Museum
Traveling with kids can be extremely stressful, especially when you are just looking to have a relaxing vacation at the beach. If you find yourself at wit’s end, then take the day off and let the Children’s Museum help keep your kids from driving you mad. Located just a few blocks from the National Gallery in the Old San Juan neighborhood, this museum is a fun collection of hands-on, bilingual exhibits that teaches both kids and adults about the history of Puerto Rico. With everything from live animals to space exploration, visitors both young and old can have a great time.
3. Pablo Casals Museum
As one of Puerto Rico’s most famous musicians, the Pablo Casals Museum celebrates the life of the cellist in a tour of his house in San Juan. Born in Spain to a Catalonian father and a Puerto Rican mother, Casals became famous with his recordings of Bach’s cello suites. Later in his life, he moved to Puerto Rico to enjoy the remaining years of his life. The tour of his house can be taken in both English and Spanish as visitors wind around the beautiful Colonial-style mansion in downtown Old San Juan.
Written by the Marketing Department for Los Angeles car accident lawyer, Paul E. Lee