While exploring the historic city center of the “White City” of Popayán, there are a few interesting museums to pop into. The only negative is that you have to be a Spanish speaker to get anything out of them.
Casa Museo Mosquera
The first museum we visited was the Casa Museo Mosquera. This was the former home of General Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera, a four-time president of Colombia in the 1800s. It features historical items from the personal collection of the general and his brother, Archbishop Manuel José Mosquera, along with some colonial art. Admission is COP$2,000 but we were never asked to pay. The museum is open daily except Mondays from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 6pm.
Museo Nacional Guillermo Valencia
Around the corner, we stopped into the Museo Nacional Guillermo Valencia. This beautiful home was built in the 19th century and later became property of poet, writer, and politician Guillermo Valencia Castillo. The museum is open daily except Mondays from 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm.
A mandatory guided tour of the home takes you through several rooms of the house with authentic furnishings, photos, and belongings of the Valencia family. It ends at a balcony with the family crypt and excellent views of Puente del Humilladero.
Casa Museo Guillermo León Valencia
Valencia’s son, Guillermo León Valencia, was president of Colombia from 1962 to 1966. His home is also a museum. There are a couple rooms dedicated to his life and his tomb is in the courtyard. Casa Museo Guillermo León Valencia is open daily except Mondays with the same hours as the father’s home.
Two museums I didn’t visit are the Casa Museo Negret, featuring modern art by Popayán-born artist Édgar Negret Dueñas, and the Museo de Historia Natural (Natural History Museum), which supposedly is one of the best of its kind in Colombia.