Museo de la Nacionalidad

Museum in La Villa de Los Santos

This modest museum, on the north side of Plaza Simón Bolívar, occupies the former house where Panama’s Declaration of Independence was signed in 1821. Pre-Columbian ceramics and colonial-era religious art comprise most of the exhibits, though obviously there's a fair amount on Los Santos' role in the independence movement. In an outbuilding in the lovely garden courtyard out the back is a restored cocina típica (traditional kitchen).

Over the years, this handsome brick-and-tile residence has served as a jail, a school and a government office. It predates the town’s church, but no one knows exactly when it was built.