The Best Guided Museum in Panama, MUMO, Mola Museum

Mola Museum

MUMO, the Mola Museum, recently opened and taking advantage of my visit to the Casco Viejo, I went to see it.

I was very surprised by how beautiful it is and everything it has, before continuing I clarify that the museum is specifically from the Mola and not of the culture of the indigenous Gunas.

The molas are these seams that Gunas women use in the upper part.

Recently we see it in purses, glasses cases, pillow protector, pictures, among others, also the design, but not the sewing style, it is used in scarves .

All these products are normally made by the Gunas and if not, you must have permission from the Guna Congress to market it, since this type of sewing is protected by law.

Booking.com
entrance to Mola Museum
Entrance to Mola Museum.

I arrived at the Mola Museum, it is in a not very crowded part of the Casco Antiguo, on a corner, I went in and was greeted by a receptionist.

The Mola Museum is on the 2nd level, but there are elevators, ideal for the seniors and people with reduced mobility.

Once up, there are the guides who ask you if you want the guided tour, I said yes, almost no one chooses this option and it is free, after the tour, you can go back to tour it on your own.


How was the Mola born?

We started the tour, before the Spanish arrived in America, where the fabric did not exist and they painted their bodies (men and women).

and what were they painted? Well, the designs of the molas by means of a carved seal so that they were equal, this helped them protect themselves from the sun, insects and evil spirits, Mola means dress.

Then with the arrival of the Spanish, they did not want people to be naked.

Then the fabrics arrived and with this, the women changed their paint on the skin for clothes, but with the designs.

The origin of the Molas is mythical and is in the fourth layer of the Infra World, where the women of the scissors live, this is part of their religious beliefs.

Mola Museum
Molas designs through the years.
Left side Mola on fabric and stamp right side to paint the body. They are both the same design.

Old designs of the Molas

We continue and the guide shows me what the designs were like before and how they are now, before continuing, the women wear a blouse and in the part of the top, both in front and behind, is the Mola.

Then, in the part that It does not have the Mola, before the fabric was simpler, fresh and with not so bright colors, now it is more satin and with very bright colors.

Also, before, the designs of the Mola were simpler and over time they have become complex.

Molas designs through the years
Molas designs through the years.

You can see the seam, seen from behind the fabric, since it is not only an art from the front but also from behind, just like the Panamanian skirt.

Mola seam at mola museum
Mola seam, seen from the front and back in its different stages.

Levels of the Guna Universe

For the Gunas there are three levels in the universe, the Supra World, Middle World and Underworld, they all have buildings, streets and others.

They are opposed, but it is complemented, only humans are in the Middle World and only Neles can reach to the other levels through dreams.

worlds guna
In this small room, you can see an example of the worlds, you can enter, only that the camera did not give me the angle.

What is a Nussus?

Other things I learned is that everyone has a Nussus, everyone has one, it is a protective figure and when they die, they are buried with it.

At this point, other visitors had joined to hear the guide’s explanation, we seemed like a school group because of the number of people, hahaha, the truth is that it was super interesting.

nussus
Nussus.

Current Mola designs

In the Molas, you can see different designs, of animals, plants, geometric, as well as spirits and their own beliefs, even some geometric ones, they are actually designs of their religious beliefs.

In recent years, they have made other designs, mostly to sell since people ask for them, do not miss seeing one of Batman.

Another thing that can be seen is an indigenous alphabet, there is also a small room with a representation of the Supra World, Middle World and Infra World converging.

Guna alphabet
Guna alphabet.

Inna Mudiggi Ceremony and Bicha

When the girls reach puberty, they are given an “Inna Mudigggi” ceremony.

Months later they are given another party called, Inna Suid or big party, which means that they can get married and they are given a painted petticoat, a Bicha, which wears under her skirt as protection.

Bicha guna
What is on the table is the Bicha.

Pendant

The Gunas also wear a pendant, as a protection amulet, it is carved and resembles a date.

Of all this, the indigenous women have made designs on their Molas.

The amulets of protection and Molas with representations of the same
The amulets of protection and Molas with representations of the same.

Layers of the Molas

In another room, we can see a tree-shaped structure with many Molas, those that are lower represent the designs of the sea, those in the center of the earth and those above, those of the sky.

Each Mola has between 2 to 8 layers of fabrics, those commonly sold on the streets, have 4 layers.

In one of the rooms, there is a three-dimensional display, we can see them separated and how they look when the layers are together.

Create your own Mola design

At the end of the entire tour, there is a room with magnets where we can make our own mola design, either by imagination or with a design guide that is on the wall.

Mola Museum
Molas Tree.

Although the indigenous Gunas are not originally from Panama and may have been in the country for less than 150 years.

This is a very rich culture that coexist with us, Panamanians, and that their colorful and unmistakable designs have become part of our culture.

After doing the guided tour, I learned a lot, the guide knew how to guide me and take me from one part to another, linking everything and even giving information that is not written on the walls.

I highly recommend visiting the Mola Museum and doing it with a local guide, if you are Panamanians do not stop going, it is free and it is open every day and if you are visitors, write it down in the things to see in Panama, you will not regret it.

Mola en capas
Molas seen in layers.

Advices

  • Do the guided tour,
  • Do not make noise, there are also other visitors,
  • Take care of the museum.

Hours

  • Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Because of the Pandemic it is only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Price

  • Free entrance.

Booking

To visit Mola Museum you should write to info@museodelamola.org

Languages

  • Spanish,
  • English.
Board at Mola Museum
Board with images to make your own Mola design.

How to get to The Museum of the Mola?

You can go by bus, own / rented car, Subway, Uber, Cabiby or taxi (the latter is not recommended for tourists, since it usually charges a very high price).

If you go by car, after parking it, go down the street behind the Cathedral, in the direction of the San José Church and just down one street you will see the Museum on a corner, it is between these two churches.

In case of going by bus, everything will depend on where they leave you, it can be on Balboa Avenue, on 5 de Mayo (like the Subway) or the paid area of ​​Marañón, walk towards the sea (Balboa Avenue, is a few meters from 5 de Mayo and the paid area).

Continue towards the Casco Viejo (on the side of the low buildings).

Go along the sea (on the side where there are houses and shops, do not take the street that is over the sea).

When you see the park in a triangle shape where the tree is (there is only one tree), turn right and continue straight.

Continue until you see Herrera Park (in the center there is a statue of a man on a horse, you will not reach the park).

Take the street on the left (it is small, about 100m long) at the end, in one corner is the museum.

More information

Information of Mola Museum click here.

Updated: 2021.

Other places you may like

Bathroom signs.
Bathroom signs.



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