Museo de Herrera
Chitré’s Museo de Herrera (Calle Manuel María Correa and Avenida Julio Arjona, tel. 996-0077, 8 a.m.–noon and 1–4 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 8–11 a.m. Sun., US$1 adults, US$0.25 children) is housed in a lovingly preserved Spanish colonial building.
The collection downstairs is devoted to archaeological finds from all around the central provinces, including stone tools from Monagrillo dating 2400–1000 B.C.
Be sure to check out the collection of ancient ceramics. Local artisans are still inspired by the same designs the indigenous peoples used more than 1,500 years ago.
In the middle of the ground floor is a re-creation of the burial site of a cacique (tribal chief) found by the Spanish in 1517, including exact replicas of beautifully wrought gold jewelry, made by the Reprosa jewelry company in Panama City.
The displays upstairs are devoted to the history of Herrera province, from Spanish times to the modern era, represented by a signed baseball and Chicago White Sox cap donated by major-leaguer Olmedo Sáenz, who is from Chitré.
Other exhibits include devil masks, polleras (hand-embroidered dresses), and traditional musical instruments from the area.
A diorama outside depicts a traditional local kitchen garden and sugarcane press. As small and simple as Museo de Herrera is, it’s one of the better ones in the country.
© William Friar from Moon Panama, 3rd Edition