We are a non-profit public institution registered in The National Monuments Council and member of The Chilean Museums System, which was created to compile valuable information of our natural and cultural heritage through research in Earth, Natural and Human Sciences, rescuing and placing heritage assets at the service of the community and foreign visitor.
We own and advocate a strong regionalist concept and a deep sense of roots which allows us to be a meeting place for academics, professionals, indigenous communities, cultural groups, researchers, and students overall.
Our purpose is to encourage curiosity and contribute to the cultural scientific development of the region for our future generations. In order to fulfill these vast objectives described above, the museum has a permanent exposition which exhibits the formation of the earth, through the different geological periods; the Mesozoic and Cenozoic strongly characterized in the zone and, current ecological and environmental processes displaying complete samples of the native and foreign wildlife.
Outreach activities such as the program “The museum visits your school”, which aims for approaching science and culture to the community, highlight the historical and geographical value of our privileged locality. This motion is recognized by the Chilean Association Municipalities, awarding it with the national prize of “Cultural Initiatives of social benefit”.
In organizational terms, this institution is currently hosted by the Culture and Tourism Corporation. We work hard with Scientifics throughout the country to carry out potential researches. We have agreements with well-reputed national and local Universities, where many former students that we met at an early stage contact us humbly, now as professionals in scientific and social areas. All replicas and documents we exhibit are loaded with stories. Therefore, we investigate, preserve and disseminate information. Each research or representation and their meaning through their origin and contact possess indisputable value, as unique elements that tell us the history of humans in this corner of the Andes.
As descendant of this land, we feel connected with our roots, in this generous land we inhabit, where we can absolutely convey our history through heritage, creating and consolidating especially in young generations, a deep sense of identity.
The beginnings of the Natural and Cultural History Museum of Atacama Desert go back more than three decades ago when before becoming the current institution, it emerged as a family utopia.
Need and, essentially, curiosity for knowledge of Mr. Osvaldo Rojas Mondaca were the starting engine for the foundation of the Museum. Mr. Rojas, its founder, collected elements of nature and man since childhood. Gathering diverse objects such as a pottery, insects or an arrowhead was not his only purpose. In his early youth, he developed a need for knowledge, by wondering the reasons and usages of the objects he gathered.
These doubts were conveyed to his family generating a strong interest in heritage history. This journey would not be possible without the unconditional support of his wife and three daughters who accompany him in this path, and above all, the urgent conviction to rescue the vestiges that were witnesses of local development and identity, to inform and share them, as a clear example of a unique nature from the driest place of the planet and the presence of man in his conquest. This proposal is complemented by a specialized library named “Andean Documentary Fund”, a unit that collects bibliography of leading researchers who investigated this area through publications which consolidate knowledge about nature, our pre-Columbian cultures and historical processes of the northern region. The “Natural and Cultural History Museum of Atacama Desert – Calama” needed a physical space and despite the complex process in 1998, a good reception was found in the Municipality of Calama. Fortunately. Edwin Rowe Molina, major of that era, Mr. Ricardo Sánchez Ríos, Chief Executive for the Culture and Tourism Corporation and the Local Council trusted the project and decided to donate a plot located in El Loa Park, with personal resources and a deep conviction, this proposal was installed in Calama. The dream began to materialize! The Rojas family has been always connected with the Museum. They have devoted all their energies into the materialization of this project, and each member is specialized in specific areas.
This project maintains its high values and standards since its opening in 2000, continuously. As a result of the Museum’s expansion in 2015, the Museum relies on the Culture and Tourism Corporation of Calama.
This supervision has allowed to optimize its administration and consolidate its task, nationally, with a strong institutional support of the current major Daniel Agusto Pérez, the councilors of Calama and the Executive Chief of this Corporation headed by Mrs. Evelyn Pizarro Peña. In this Museum, greater challenges are conquered daily, locating the city and region, within of the main milestones in culture, research and contributions to science in the country.
PROJECT TEAM DATA
Osvaldo Rojas Mondaca
Museum Director and Heritage and Museums Supervisor of the Culture and Tourism Corporation of Calama.
Jennyfer Rojas Vásquez:
Ana Vásquez Fredes:
Administrative and Extension Supervisor
Evelyn Aly Gutiérrez:
Public Services Overseer
Av. Bernardo O´Higgins s/n Interior Parque El Loa, Calama.
Monday to Friday 10:00 am to 13:00 pm and from 15:00 pm until 18:30 pm