Explore the Fascinating Museums of Ponce
Named in honor of Juan Ponce de León y Loayza, the great-grandson of the first governor of Puerto Rico, Juan Ponce de León, the city of Ponce was founded in 1694 and is a treasure trove of culture and history. Visitors to the city can gain a true sense of Puerto Rican history and culture by visiting the city’s museums such as the Museum of the History of Ponce, El Museo Castillo Serralles, the Ponce Museum of Art, the Museum of Puerto Rican Music, the House of the Ponce Massacre, the Old Ponce Firehouse Museum and the Tibes Indian Museum and Archeological Site.
Located in the historic pink and white-trimmed Casa Salazar-Candal, just two blocks from the Plaza Las Delicias, the Museum of the History of Ponce (Museo de la Historia de Ponce) is dedicated to the history of the citizens of Ponce, detailing the city’s architecture, economy, ecology, governance and different aspects of daily life. Its ten exhibition halls are filled with documents, photographs and relics highlighting the role the city has played in the development of the political, social and cultural structure of Puerto Rico, as well as paying tribute to the various ethnic cultures that make up the ancestry of the majority of Puerto Ricans, including African, Spanish and non-European immigrants.
The Ponce Museum of Art (Museo de Arte de Ponce) is home to a collection of around 4,500 pieces of art ranging from the 14th to the 20th century, with superb examples from different eras, including British Pre-Raphaelite, Italian Baroque, Spanish Golden Age and contemporary Latin-American art. Puerto Rican artists represented at the museum include José Campeche, Miguel Pou, Francisco Oller, Antonio Martorell and Francisco Rodón, among others. In addition to its permanent exhibitions, the museum regularly features temporary exhibitions by world-renowned artists.
Established in 1990, the Museum of Puerto Rican Music (Museo de la Música Puertorriqueña) showcases the development of Puerto Rican music, with displays of musical instruments, such as the güiro, requinto and bordonua, as well as a range of memorabilia honoring Puerto Rican musicians and composers. Anyone who enjoys the vibrant sounds of the bomba and plena will no doubt appreciate discovering some history behind these unique genres.
The Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center is located on the banks of the Río Portuguéz, around three kilometers outside Ponce. This archeological site and museum provides information about the Taíno Indians who lived there before the arrival of the Spanish, and includes more than 180 skeletons dating back to 300 AD, along with a large collection of artifacts.
So, take some time to learn more about the history and culture of Ponce by visiting some of its fascinating museums.