Art and Museums in Chile

Art and Museums give us a great cultural insight into a country, so let us delve into the art and museum scene in Chile.

Art comes in all varieties, from poetry, paintings, monuments, sculptures, buildings, dance, and so much more, and if this is your thing, you will be happy to know that Chile has a lot to offer the art lover, especially some must-visit festivals. 

When it comes to museums, some of these display various forms of art, and some tell us a story of a country’s past trials and tribulations, which help us understand the people and the country as a whole a little bit better. Another way to uncover a country’s hidden attributes is to consult a local Destination Expert who has inside knowledge into many topics, giving you a great source of information. 

Until you get connected with your excellent local guide, here are a few things to know about art and museums in Chile. 

Chile is a country that has produced many famous artists, including Roberto Matta, who is said to be the most renowned painter from Chile, as well as Carlos Sotomayor and sculptor Rebeca Matte, however ‘Chilean Art’ has been around for a very long time. Since the arrival of the Spanish conquerors to the modern-day, Chilean art has always existed and has changed over time. For instance, Mapuches used to express their art in the form of their clothing and weaving technique, while ceramics were an artistic flair of the northern peoples. 

When it comes to discovering art in Chile, you don’t need to seek out art galleries and museums. Still, in many history museums, you will find these kinds of pieces, such as clothing, ceramics, and textiles, from various eras, which is fascinating when you think of how far back Chiles’s heritage stretches.

Here are some museums and art-related museums that you should not miss out on if art is your niche.

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Art Museums

Museo de Artes Visuales (Museum of Visual Arts):

Museo De Artes Visuales
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When it comes to checking out various paintings and photography and many other exhibits, this art museum in Santiago is the place to go. Its mission is to conserve the history of Chilean contemporary art and raise awareness of diversity.

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes:

Museo Nacional De Bellas Artes
Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

This is the National Museum of Fine Arts and is one of the leading centers for Chilean and South American art. There are more than 3,000 pieces for you to discover here, so you might want to dedicate a day to this museum, especially if you like to take your time enjoying each piece. They have the largest display of sculptures in the country, but they also have international bits and pieces dating back to colonial times.

Centro Arte Alameda, Avenida Libertador Bernardo:

Centro Arte Alameda
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As we mentioned, art comes in many forms, and this cinema will prove that to you with its concerts, photo exhibits, and video showings, so if you are into art but want to see a variety, then this is the place to go in Santiago.

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo:

Museo De Arte Contemporáneo
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This museum is connected with the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Chile. It has a rich history in the capital, with its incredible array of exhibits ranging from paintings to engravings and so much more – 3,000 pieces more, to be precise.

Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino:

Museo Chileno De Arte Precolombino

Having opened in December of 1981, the Museums of Pre-Columbian Art came about because of a donation of indigenous art from Sergio Larrain Garcia Moreno, a Chilean architect, and international scholar.


This is the hub of contemporary art and has an impressive range of exhibits from various artists and styles, including the world-renowned artist Picasso.

There are a couple of festivals that Chile is famous for when it comes to art, relating to art in all its glory. Here are some of them:

Fiesta de la Cultura:

Fiesta De La Cultura
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This festival, held every April, is dedicated to all things art, including poetry, filmmaking, music, and paintings, and is one not to miss out on if art is your thing.

Vina del Mar International Song Festival:

Vina Del Mar International Song Festival
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Held in February every year, this music and song festival draws music lovers worldwide and locally. It is so popular that it is often referred to as the essential music event in the Americas, so this is one not to miss out on if you are here at the right time. It takes place in the Quinta Vergara Amphitheatre, which is known to be a notable building for its architecture. Expect the event to be around 10 pm and finish late, around 3 am.


Casa Pablo Naruda:

Casa Pablo Naruda

This is one of the former homes of Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda. Although he had other homes in Chile, including one in Valparaiso and one in Santiago, this is the most eccentric and well preserved. It is located in Isla Negra, just south of the coastal city of Valparaiso.

Museo de Colchagua:

Museo De Colchagua
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Located in the wine country of Santa Cruz, in the Colchagua Valley, this is arguably one of Chiles’s most excellent museums, offering the visitor so many artifacts to see, from pre-Hispanic objects to Indigenous artifacts and so much more, it is a fantastic place for the history buff to discover.

Museo Arqueologico San Miguel de Azapa:

Museo Arqueologico San Miguel De Azapa
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As we know, the desert of the Atacama in the north of Chile is one of the driest in the world, which means that over the years, it has helped preserve many artifacts, which you can see on display in this museum. One of the most intriguing displays is of a mummy whose teeth, hair, and even skin, are still intact and is referred to as Miss Chile. You will also find a collection of deformed skulls, which give you a glimpse into the culture of cranial deformation of the indigenous people.

Museo Regional de Magallanes:

Museo Regional De Magallanes
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If you are looking for a unique and elite place to discover, why not go to the former home of Patagonia’s wealthiest families – The Brauns, where you will see all things exquisite and luxurious.

Museo Salesiano Maggiorno Borgatello:

Museo Salesiano Maggiorno Borgatello
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There is so much to see here, from gadgets and photo exhibits to archeological artifacts and ranch furniture. You will probably spend a while just making your way through all the displays.

Museo Historico Nacional:

Museo Historico Nacional
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If you are a history buff or want to delve into Chiles’s culture and heritage, this is the place to go. With 70,000 Colonial-era pieces on display, you will be kept busy. The best thing is that this museum is in the Plaza de las Armas in Santiago, so you may be in the area at one point or another, and this should be on your list of things to see.



In terms of architecture, you will find that depending on each region. There is a variety of building styles ranging from traditional to modern-day. Some of the most notable monuments and buildings to spot in Chile are:

  • Templo Baha’i 
  • Church of San Francisco
  • Palacio Rioja
  • Las Majadas de Pirque
  • Quinta Vergara
  • Catedral de San Marcos

This video will give you a glimpse into some of Santiago’s most notable buildings.

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