Museo de Colchagua

Museum in Santa Cruz

Exhibiting the impressive private collection of controversial entrepreneur and alleged arms dealer Carlos Cardoen, this is the largest private museum in Chile. The collection includes pre-Columbian anthropomorphic ceramics from all over Latin America; weapons, religious artifacts and Mapuche silver; and a whole room of huasos (cowboy) gear.

For many Chileans, the headlining exhibit here is El Gran Rescate (The Big Rescue), showing objects, photos and films related to the October 2010 rescue of the 33 miners trapped 700m underground near Copiapó. Perhaps as interesting as the museum is the story of its founder, Carlos Cardoen, who allegedly sold armaments to Iraq during Saddam Hussein's regime, and was instrumental in bringing tourism to the Colchagua Valley by supporting the creation of museums and other wine-centric attractions.

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