A Visit to the Panama History Museum

Panama History Museum

As a plan to reactivate the Casco Antiguo (Old Quarter), the routes of Casco Antiguo were created and I took the opportunity to visit some museums that I had not visited, this time I am writing about Panama History Museum (Museo de Historia de Panamá).

Panama History Museum is inside the Palacio Municipal (Municipal Palace), on the low floor, the museum is not very large, but it is large enough to remember and understand some of the history of this beautiful country.

Also, if it’s really hot, you can go, get to know something and cool off in the air conditioner, hee hee.

When I entered, I told them that I was going to Panama History Museum, this is very important, since municipal themes are also seen in the place.

Having said that, they indicated where to go to see the museum.

First of all, like all state museums in Panama, you have to fill out the visit registration.

Later, a man guided me through the museum and clarified any doubts.

First room of the Panama History Museum
First room of the museum.

The visit can be done in as in 15 minutes as an hour, as I see everything, and I take my time, because I take more than an hour, hahaha.

Hispanic and Departmental Room

It begins with the pre-Hispanic part, the arrival of the Spanish until 1903, when Panama separated from Colombia.

In this part we can learn a little about the separatist movement, about Victoriano Lorenzo, what he did and how he died, in addition to see a mannequin, who wears clothes similar to those that the hero wore.

On the right side, we can see indigenous ethnic groups in Panama such as

  • The Nasos (before called Teribes, it is believed they have been in the country since before the arrival of the Spanish),
  • the Gnäbe-Bublë (before called Güami, they have also been in the country since before the arrival of the Spanish),
  • Gunas (original from Colombia),
  • and the Emberá-Wounan (before called Chocoes, entered the country through Chocó, Colombia and it is believed that when the Spaniards arrived in America, they lived in Brazil).
Part of the first room. Indigenous people in Panama
Part of the first room. Indigenous people in Panama.

National Symbols Room

Then, Panama History Museum shows us images and articles by Manuel Amador Guerreo, Colombian and the first president of the Republic of Panama.

We move a little further and we find some of the first flags of Panama, including the original made by María Osa de Amador.

Manuel Amador Guerrero
Left side, desk and articles of Manuel Amador Guerrero. Right side, Manuel Amador Guerrero, first president of Panama.

We can also see a photograph of the lady and a representation of her sewing the flag.

As a curious fact, when Manuel Amador Guerrero became president, he wanted to put the flag with the blue box on the top, this is because he represented the Conservative party and he was part of it, but said change was not accepted.

María Ossa de Amador
Left side, first flag of Panama, made by Maria Ossa de Amador. Right side, María Ossa de Amador.

In the same room, we can see a representative painting of the day the flag was baptized, I didn´t imagine this.

There are also other articles of interest such as the notes of the national hymn in the handwriting of Santos Jorge, as well as the first Shield of Panama.

Those original and invaluable elements of our first years as a Republic and that are part of our national symbols, does not have a plaque that indicates that they are original, I know this, because the guide told me.

In fact, there are many things that have information in Spanish and English, others only in Spanish, but there are others that do not have anything.

handwritten hymn by Santos Jorge.
Left Side Music of the National Hymn of Panama, handwritten by Santos Jorge. Right side, first National Shield designed by Nicanor Villalaz.

Foreign influence in Panama Room

Continuing, at the Panama History Museum, we can see some items that represent the foreign influence in Panama.

This is because of the fact that the Railroad and the Panama Canal (both by the French and the Americans) were built largely by foreign labor and of course they had their traditions.

In addition, that by staying in the country they developed other commercial activities, such as

  • The olive oil,
  • the olives,
  • cans of sardines,
  • bakeries,
  • the tea,
  • card games,
  • the textile industry,
  • among other things.
Panama History Museum
Foreign Influence in Panama.

January 9, Room

We continue and enter the last room, where we can see a representation of what happened on January 9, 1964.

Where some students from the Instituto Nacional entered an area controlled by the USA citizens to place the Panamanian flag, which led to the Torrijos-Carter Treaties and that Panama got the administration of the Panama Canal.

Later, we see images of the White March of the Cruzada Civilista and what happened, on December 20, 1989, when the dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega was overthrown.

To end, there are the photographs of the presidents since democracy was restored (after January 20, 1989) until today.

Panama History Museum
Representation of the heroic acts of January 9, 1964.

When visiting Panama History Museum it is important to take into account

  • 1502, Oct, Cristóbal Colón arrives in Panama.
  • 1821, Nov, independence of Panama from Spain.
  • 1821, Nov, Panama joined La Gran Colombia (several free states, Nueva Granada, Venezuela, Panama, Ecuador, joined to form a great country, La Gran Colombia).
  • 1881, Jan, begins the Construction of the Canal by the French.
  • 1903, Nov, Panama separated from La Gran Colombia and became a Republic.
  • 1903, Nov, the United States of America is granted the rights to the Panama Canal, along with some land.
  • 1964, Jan, movement led by students, where they demanded to place the Panamanian flag in the Canal Zone, since (the USA citizens) had failed to do what was indicated by the Governor of said place (raise the Panamanian flag in the Canal Zone) .
  • 1977, Sept, signature of the Torrijos-Carter Treaty, where the land of the Panama Canal (Canal Zone) is recovered, in addition, Panama becomes its administrator.
  • 1989, Dec, the dictator is overthrown and with that democracy is recovered.
  • 1999, Dec, the United States of America finishes handing over control of the Canal to Panama.
Panama History Museum
Mural of December 20, 1989.

Interesting Facts

  • The museum has the First Flag of Panama made by María Osa de Amador.
  • It has the First Shield of Panama, designed by Nicanor Villalaz.
  • The museum posed the National Hymn made by Santos Jorge
  • Panama banknote from 1875, the currency was pesos.
  • At the time of independence there were only 6 provinces: Bocas del Toro, Coclé, Colón, Chiriquí, Los Santos and Veraguas, there were no Comarcas and neither had the provinces of Darién, Herrera and Panamá Oeste.


  • If you go between Tuesday and Friday, park outside the Casco Antiguo, and if you have an app such as Google Maps, use it to get there, below I wrote the easiest way to guide (how to get Panama History Museum), but not It is the fastest way to get there, especially if it is parked along the Coastal Beltway.
  • You are going to enter a public institution, try to wear appropriate clothing, such as long pants and a top with sleeves, shoes, sandals, not flip-flops, otherwise you may not be allowed in.
old currency


  • You can do the guided tour, completely free, in my case, it was semi-guided. I always had a guide nearby to clarify any doubts.
  • It is not possible to take photos with flash, due to the age of some pieces, be very careful that the flash is used by mistake, because one of the rooms is very dark.


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


  • Free.


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 went to this visit without booking.

Where is Panama History Museum?

Panama Casco Antiguo, in front of the Plaza de la Independencia (Cathedral Square), next to 7th street.

How to get to Panama History 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 del Marisco (Maritime Market), in the deviation that is before taking the Cinta Costera 3.

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

From there you can ask for the Plaza de la Independencia (Independence Square) or the one in front of the Cathedral, the Museum is in front of that Square, next to calle 7a.

By bus, you can take a bus that goes to 12th 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 of the Church of Santa Ana (when La Central ends), you will see two streets in front of you, take the one on the left and go straight You will arrive at La Independencia Square, and just on your right will be the Palacio Municipal, inside the place is the Museum.

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