Landmark n°17. Museo Histórico Nacional (National History Museum)

Posted in Tour I. Historical/Old Santiago, and Hito 17. Museo Histórico Nacional

Landmark n°17. Museo Histórico Nacional (National History Museum)

Landmark n°17. Museo Histórico Nacional (National History Museum)
Landmark n°17. Museo Histórico Nacional (National History Museum)

The National History Museum was founded in 1982. Its building of neoclassic style, was a work by the Chilean architect Juan José Goycolea y Zañartu. It was built between 1804 and 1808 to become the headquarters of the Court of Justice.

Within its dependencies the First National Congress hosted sessions on July 4, 1811. After the triumph of the patriots in the Battle of Chacabuco in 1817, the building became the House of Government until 1845, when President Manuel Bulnes moved the headquarters to the “Real Casa de la Moneda” (Royal Mint House). It also hosted the “Intendencia de Santiago” (City Hall of Santiago) from 1847 to 1929 and the Post and Telegraphs Office until 1978.

Today it is the headquarters of the National History Museum, for which it had to be restored and fitted to house the historical heritage collections, displaying Chilean history from Pre-Columbian times until 1973.

It is also the house of the Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna Tower, which dates back to 1884 and has undergone several changes since its original construction in 1808. From there the intendant Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna transformed the city of Santiago and gathered the first objects of the current collection of the National History Museum. It can be accessed through a seven-story spiral staircase.

In 1969, this significant building was declared a National Monument.


The clock tower had a set of bells that rang every 15 minutes. It was deactivated by order of President Jorge Alessandri (1958-1964) because he lived in the nearby Philips street and could not sleep because of the noise.

Address:Plaza de Armas 951

Hours. Tuesdays through Sundays, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Free admission.

For guided tours, contact:

Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna Tower Tour

Thursdays through Sundays, 10:00 am to 12:25 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:10 pm

Tour lasts 20 minutes

Cannot access: Children shorter than 1.20 meters (3 ft 93 in), people with health issues or mobility problems and pregnant women.

Services: Access for people with reduced mobility and adapted toilets.

Wi-Fi only available in the central courtyard.

Bicycle parking and museum gift shop.

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