The National Museum of Peru: a dream come true equipped with EUN’s storage units

The National Museum of Peru (MUNA) is one of Peru’s most emblematic buildings carried out under the instructions of the Ministry of Culture. Interview with Nelly Giovanna Faustino Bambarén.

In 2014, the Ministry of Culture launched an invitation to tender for architectural ideas for the MUNA. Construction on the building started in 2016 based on this initiative. As part of this long journey that fulfilled one of the country’s long-held ambitions, the President of the Republic, Francisco Sagasti Hochhausler, made the opening of the MUNA official through Executive Decree No. 018-2020-MC.

The MUNA’s mission is to serve as the custodian of one of the country’s largest, most significant and comprehensive collections of movable cultural heritage so that it is able to conserve, research, increase, pass down and display the highly diverse wealth of Peruvian culture. It will thus be able to broaden its horizons to achieve its true national identity and raise the general public’s awareness about how Peruvians associate themselves with their history, all of which is based on a scientific approach.

The Museum’s vision is to be recognised across the country as the leading body to handle its movable cultural heritage and the museum as a concept, as well as to become an international cultural icon, based on:

  • A centre most suited to promote cultural and scientific development nationwide.
  • An organisation with a greater ability and potential to advocate movable cultural heritage.
  • A collection scientifically researched and preserved in suitable environments.
  • A research centre that has modern laboratories and equipment that drive progress in scientific research forward.
  • A progressive museum that spurs on museology with exhibition rooms in keeping with its requirements and those of the general public.
  • An organisation that provides the general public with educational, recreational and pleasurable services in spacious rooms suited for their purpose, so that the heritage in its custody can be properly conserved.
  • A cultural body that delivers additional high quality services that contribute to the dissemination of cultural heritage, such as its auditorium, workshops, amphitheatre, specialised documentation centre, thus delivering a number of services to the general public, mainly from its immediate surroundings, but also to the population as a whole.


Today we are interviewing Nelly Giovanna Faustino Bambarén. With more than 20 years of experience in the field of culture, Nelly Giovanna Faustino Bambarén is an advisor to Peru’s General Directorate for Museums of the Ministry of Culture. An architect and museologist, she has worked for the MUNA since 2013, when its design was still just an idea. In this interview, we will discuss some of the key features of the  MUNA and EUN’s contribution to this strategic project for the country.

You have a long-standing relationship with the MUNA dating back to when the project was in its incipient stage, don’t you?
That’s right. I became involved in this project in 2013, when the MUNA was just an idea, although the wish to do so stems way back since the beginning of the republican era. For almost 200 years, we have dreamt of being able to have a large national museum where our entire cultural diversity could be housed and displayed. Finally, in 2014, the then Minister of Culture, Diana Álvarez-Calderón, launched a call for bids to build the National Museum of Peru. A total of 70 projects were submitted, the winner of which was the one by the architect Alexia León. As it now stands, 99.9% of its infrastructure has been completed, with just a few finishing touches to be added. We are now in the implementation stage. Under the current management of the Minister of Culture, Leslie Urteaga, every endeavour is now being made so that the Museum is fully up and running in 2024.

For those of us who haven’t been lucky enough to visit it, could you briefly explain what the MUNA is?
As I was saying earlier, the MUNA is a dream that has come true for our country. As you must be aware, Peru has an enormous cultural diversity that is recognised worldwide. We are one of the five most ancient civilisations of the world, so our cultural, tangible and intangible culture is immense. However, we didn’t have anywhere to house this diversity and show it, not just to foreign visitors but also to ourselves as a reminder of where we come from so that we can identify with our culture. In brief, the MUNA is a place that houses all of Peru’s ethnic, cultural, social and political diversity.

Working on the construction of a facility that houses such a rich and vast heritage couldn’t have been easy.
Indeed, it wasn’t. In fact, it was extremely hard. That is why I have highlighted that coming into this building of just over 65,000 square metres of floor area is a dream come true. It’s been an experience of many mixed feelings.

It will feel that way until we can share all of our heritage. I believe that things that are very difficult to achieve have even greater value.

Apart from the exhibits, the MUNA is worth a great deal in terms of research, isn’t it?
That’s right. At the MUNA not only is our culture reflected, which will attract even more tourists to the country, but also it will become a focus of interest for researchers. We will finally be able to have a place where our cultural heritage can be researched, conserved, restored and displayed to the public without having to send it abroad. It will now be here. People will come and conduct research on it, and it can also be conserved, restored and at last made available to the general public.

I guess that you will have an infinite number of objects and contents of great value in the Museum. What is believed to be of the greatest value of this heritage in storage?
Our main collection will be the same as it was in the Museum of the Nation. The collection was dismantled about 10 years ago. Since then, it has been in storage in our warehouses. It is a very diverse collection of not just pre-Hispanic artefacts, but also ones from colonial and republican times. In addition to this collection, we have many other pieces that have either been seized or repatriated. Parts of our heritage have often been taken abroad illegally for different reasons, not just because of the trafficking of cultural assets, but also due to loans to museums, galleries, etc. The thing is that these pieces were never returned for a variety of reasons. The Ministry of Culture has done a great deal of work to be able to get them back. Many of them are unique pieces that have never been put on display. They are priceless precisely because of this, but now they are coming home to the people of Peru. They are pieces of extremely high quality, whose handiwork is impressive. There are fabrics from the Paracas civilisation, stone artefacts, human remains, pottery, paintings, furniture, gold and silver pieces, to name just a few. Many are very large, and others minute. They are made of materials that require specific storage conditions.

That’s why the store rooms have to be very well fitted out in terms of size, as well as temperature, humidity and lighting.

How would you rate the contributions made by EUN in the MUNA?
They were major. In the first stage, EUN’s team of experts took charge of setting up the area where collections are handled, that is, inbound and outbound cultural assets. An extremely wide range of furniture is required there, both mobile and fixed for lifting light and heavy objects. Likewise, the documentation centre, which is extremely strategic for us as it is a springboard that will attract researchers and so that the general public will have access to a high quality library.

All of our expectations have been surpassed, not just in terms of the quality of the products but also for the advice given.

In what way was this advice decisive?
When the specialised units were first fitted, the merits and diversity of EUN’s shelving stood out, as did the range of alternatives for storing tangible cultural heritage. This enabled us to put forward suggestions for the second stage of the specialised units being fitted. We are not specialised in setting up spaces to house our cultural heritage. We may have certain notions, we may have visited other museums in the world, seen other examples but, undoubtedly, the units supplied during the first stage enabled us to have a more accurate overview of what we actually needed for the MUNA.

EUN’s contribution to the MUNA
In 2021, EUN supplied the units for stage I of the MUNA build (collection handling area and documentation centre).









EUN’s 610 and 620 ranges fitted in stage I of the MUNA build  

It is expected that EUN will supply the units for stage II of the MUNA build in May 2023. This stage will entail equipping five rooms on MUNA’s second floor: the store rooms for pottery, stoneware, fragments and materials to be classified, metal, and a vaulted area, in addition to store rooms for human remains and, lastly, for organic materials.

For stage II there will be fixed shelving, work tables, flat file cabinets, mechanical mobile shelving, drawers, medium-load fixed shelving and fixed shelving for palletisation. The factory acceptance test milestone was recently successfully passed.


EUN’s 610 and 620 ranges during the factory acceptance test in stage II of the MUNA build

The installation and delivery of stage II to Peru’s Ministry of Culture has been planned for the end of May 2023.