Colonial Religious Art Museum in Casco Antiguo

Colonial Religious Art Museum

Colonial Religious Art Museum (Arte Religioso Colonial Museum)is located in Casco Antiguo (Old Quarter) in a small place that was previously the Santo Domingo de Guzmán Chapel.

The place dates from the 18th century, is in the Baroque style and has been restored.

The museum can be visited in a few minutes, it is also free and leads to the ruins of the Santo Domingo Convent.

When you arrive, you must register, this is very common in state museums.

The visit is not guided, but you can ask any questions to the person at the entrance.

Colonial Religious Art Museum
Inside Colonial Religious Art Museum.

When Panama was discovered by Spain and of course, the Spaniards trying to dominate the territory, the first artworks of religious, I think probably the first, in general, came from Spain.

knowing that, at the time, when a territory was conquered or discovered, they not only tried to govern it, but also to instill their customs, languages ​​and of course their religion.

Having said that, many Catholic religious images were purchased to take to the new Continent and of course, Panama.

The most Ancient known sculpture or painting that arrived in Castilla de Oro, dates from 1513 and was carried by Fray Pedro de Córdoba.

Among the first things we see at Colonial Religious Art Museum, it is a list of religious articles that came from Spain in 1585 (Colón arrived in Panama in 1502).

Polychrome table
Polychrome table, theme: education of the Virgin. Gothic style, made in Panama.

Not only in the city you can see these pieces of colonial art, also in places like San Francisco de la Montaña Church (Veraguas), which dates from 1630, where there are many wood carvings.

Other places where you can see these altarpieces with colonial art are San Atanasio Church in Villa de Los Santos and Santo Domingo de Parita Church.

By the 18th century, the museum shows us arts made in Latin America and of course, some in Panama, such as San Miguel Arcangel.

Carvings made in Panama in polychrome
Carvings made in Panama in polychrome and gilded wood in the 18th century.

In these artworks from the colonial era you can see all the detail and work that was done to carry out these works, today it is very rare to see churches from this century with such detail.

Colonial Religious Art Museum
Images of the Churches of Los Santos and Herrera, where you can see the great work on the planks

Colonial Religious Art Museum tells us that, no matter how poor the churches were, they always had many images.

This reminds me of my visit to the Church of Taboga Island, I think it is the church that I have seen with more images in my life and you can see that they are ancient, not very beautiful in style, you will see them when you go there.

There are several bells, which were in some churches, some are from the 16th century and there is even a carved stone of Nuestra Señora del Pilar from the 18th century.

Colonial Religious Art Museum
Ancient bells in the museum.

In one part of the museum, near the main altarpiece you can see the original floor of the chapel, be careful not to step on it.

The most caught my attention is the gilded and carved main altarpiece that is at the bottom of the museum, it is the height of the museum.

In addition, it has Our Lady of the Rosary, with invaluable gold features.

Colonial Religious Art Museum
Original floor, it cannot be seen in the photo because of the glass.

By the seventeenth century, many people had a large number of religious images in their homes, making oratorios in their homes.

Then, they no longer went to Church, for this reason in 1678, these oratorios were prohibited at home (they could have images, but not a particular oratory).

We can see paintings, sculptures, planks, medallions, wood carvings, ivory, marble, silver or stone, bells and other religious objects from the colonial era.

In addition, we can see, a little, how they changed over the years, from the 16th to the 19th century.

You can also appreciate Gothic style art, such as the polychrome panel with a representation of the Virgin Mary being educated by her parents and the popular baroque, in the Santiago Apóstol Church in Natá de los Caballeros.


The identification and information of each piece is only in Spanish.

High altar
High Altar.


  • Tuesday to Sunday,
  • From 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.


A booking is required to visit the museum, it is made from the Mi Cultura website, click here.

However, if you are near, stop by and ask if you can meet it, if there is no booking, they will probably let it pass.

I visited without booking.


  • Free.

Where is Colonial Religious Art Museum?

The Colonial Religious Art Museum is in Casco Antiguo of Panama, between avenue A and 3a West Street, following street of San José Church in the direction of Paseo Esteban Huertas.

Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph.

How to get to Colonial Religious Art Museum?

If you go by car, the difficult thing will be to find parking, I suggest going in the morning and entering the Casco Antiguo through the Mercado Marítimo, in the deviation that is before taking the Cinta Costera 3.

You can park in one of the Aquare (with white line) or in the parking lot next to the National Theater.

Then you can ask for directions to go to the ruins of the Santo Domingo de Guzmán Convent, since it depends on where you are, it is the street you will have to take.

By bus, you can take a bus that goes to Calle 12 (12 Street) or that leaves it at 5 de Mayo (the majority), walk through the entire Peatonal de La Central (it is a street where only people pass).

When you are in front the Church of Santa Ana (where La Central ends), you will see two streets in front of you, take the one on the left and continue straight until you reach the Interoceanic Panama Canal Museum (it is in front of Independence Square).

Then take the street on the right and then on the left, continue until you see the stone ruins.

Virgen del Pilar in carved
Virgen del Pilar in carved and polychrome stone. Century XVIII.

Other places you may like

Colonial Religious Art Museum
Santo Domingo de Guzmán Convent and Colonial Religious Art Museum.

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