The Altos de Chavón Regional Museum of Archaeology, inaugurated in 1981, documents the important indigenous legacy of the island of Santo Domingo and functions as a valuable source of information for the thousands of students and visitors it receives every year. The Museum’s magnificent collection of indigenous objects was assembled over 40 years by the collector Samuel Pión and comprises more than 3,000 objects found in the region. These ritual and utilitarian objects demonstrate the cultural evolution of the island’s indigenous societies, from the preagricultural era to the time of the Tainos, the predominant culture when the Spanish conquistadors arrived.
The Museum maintains a broad program of talks, workshops, presentations, temporary exhibits, and research excursions to rural areas. It also offers skill-building activities for teachers that delve into our origins and deepen their knowledge of our ancestors’ culture. In conjunction with this concept, two important pieces have been developed for use in schools: the publication Looking at Ourselves in the Mirror of Time, in collaboration with the Latin American Institute of Museums, and the video “Where the Sun Rises,” featuring several short segments on indigenous history and Dominican archaeology for use with elementary education levels; both projects were supported by the Falcondo Foundation.
The Museum’s Exploration Room was designed to involve young visitors in activities that promote their understanding of the artifacts and exhibits they see, and of the island’s indigenous culture and history, as well as to give them an appreciation of the processes museums use to acquire and interpret their collections. The fundamental aim of the Exploration Room is to nourish a sense of curiosity and respect for the legacy of the indigenous inhabitants of The Antilles, and for their contributions to contemporary Dominican culture.
The Museum also offers the Museum in a Box, which visits schools throughout the country to introduce the richness and diversity of the Dominican Republic’s archaeological patrimony. In a simple manner, this attractive and dynamic tool builds knowledge of and value for our cultural heritage. The design of this project was achieved through the sponsorship of the Falcondo Foundation and the Ademi Foundation.