I didn't read any of the reviews here before I visited today, and having just read them I think I understand the good and the bad -- the spectrum -- as expressed by different reviewers. For me, this was one of the best museums I have ever visited simply because of the curation by Colombians for Colombians and fortunate foreigners, allowing for the interpretation of history as opposed to the heavy-handed (re)presentation of a one-and-only version of history. This is remarkable and warrants praise and respect. Unfortunately, the section on the Conquest was closed when I visited, but the 2nd-floor halls were outstanding. All of our countries have conflicted pasts, but I have yet to visit an 'official' national museum anywhere (or maybe my memory is betraying me...or, probably more accurately, I was just so impressed today that I forget other fabulous museum visits elsewhere in the world...) where the present is as conflicted as it is today in Colombia, but where the museum curators guide our own efforts to deconstruct glorious and inglorious pasts as an opportunity to reinterpret what we've been told and then build on that to reconsider where we are today. I arrived in Bogota from Caracas, and while there is certainly a state/national myth in force regarding Simon Bolivar in Venezuela, it is the National Museum here that really allows us to ponder, while still respecting, Bolivar and other freedom fighters. I write in the title of this review that the museum could be even better. That relates to the frustrations expressed by others that not enough information is available in English. I spent 3 hours in the museum (mostly on the 2nd floor!) going through everything in Spanish. So I guess I'm lucky. If one can do the visit in Spanish, the experience is mind blowing. If not, I hope that the museum will become more accessible for non-Spanish speakers sometime in the near future as it truly is a very well-done museum despite the fact that it is run by the government! Very highly recommended. There is not entrance fee, but one is encouraged to make a donation. I made my donation happily even before entering.
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