The Tayrona Gold Museum contains some of the fascinating gold pieces made by the Tayrona indigenous tribe starting around 100 A.D and gives a look into the culture of those early inhabitants of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Many of the objects on display were made using the lost wax method in order to create life-like hollow gold objects. The Tayrona also used alloys made with gold and copper called tumbaga and would hammer out sheets of gold on rock slabs.
The Tayronas were a deeply religious community and their gold pieces were rich in detail and meaning. A common theme involved representations of animals, reflecting the custom of the political and spiritual leaders who adopted qualities and strengths they associated with certain animals.
To make gold figures, the lost wax method was one of the most common methods used. A wax figure would be covered with clay in order to create a mold. When the object was heated, the wax would melt out. Then gold or metal was poured in the resulting space. After the metal cooled, the clay would be broken to leave the gold figure, which was then polished.
The Gold Museum is normally located in the Custom’s House (Casa de la Aduana), a Cultural Patrimony building on the Santa Marta bay that is currently under restoration work. In the meantime, the collection has found a temporary home in the Bank of the Republic Library.
Calle 14 No. 1C-37. The easiest way to get to the museum is to take a taxi. The museum is free and is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. -12 p.m. and from 2 to 6 p.m. On Saturdays the museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.