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Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón

Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón
Machu Picchu Site Museum

Daily - except Sunday
10:00 am -  4:00 pm

Entrance Ticket

Foreigners: S/. 20.00
National: S/. 10.00
Children under 12 years are free


By Puente Ruinas at the base of the footpath to the Machu Picchu Citadel - 1.7 km from Machu Picchu town (Aguas Calientes)

Exhibit Superb multimedia displays on archaeological excavations, archaeological pieces and a small botanical gardens

The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, achieves the objectives of the preservation and dissemination of cultural and archaeological research. Within a modern and dynamic exhibition, the reopening of Site Museum Manuel Chavez Ballón has become the primary means of communication and information for the most important cultural Historical Sanctuary of Peru.

The museum is organized in seven phases. In these seven phases, they emphasize the beauty and historical significance of the large collection of artifacts, construction tools (copper and bronze), pins, mirrors, tweezers and needles. Also  appearing are the headed ornitomorfa ibis, toucans and oropendolas. The exhibit shows in detail the metallurgical expertise in the Inca city; the spectacular examples of dexterity in stone quarrying, as well as significant objects in various other materials. These displays express to the world, a view of the sustenance of life in Inca Machu Picchu, the strategic administrative center intertwined between the Amazon and the Andes.

The multimedia displays information, photos, live and textual details were organized to offer visitors a full image of the significance of Machu Picchu, and the Cultural and Natural World Heritage Site, also a botanical garden with flora of Machu Picchu area as orchids.

Is located at kilometer 112 "Puente Ruinas" - the old train station, which is Km. 122 downstream and approximately 1.7 kilometers from Machu Picchu town (Aguas Calientes). The museum is located at the base of the mountain of Machu Picchu, on the third of a series of platforms ending its decline staggered down to the Urubamba River. It is reached by passing the bridge across the Urubamba River in path-route to Inca city of Machu Picchu, as it diverts to the west (toward right).

The original site of the current museum was in a building donated by Mrs. Anita Fernandini de Naranjo for the specific purpose of being used as a museum, and continues its present use for this purpose. It highlights the characteristics of their natural environment and cultural location.

This building was designed at the beginning of the 1960s' and apparently was not completed and in operation as a museum until the 1970s’. Prior to the completion of the construction, the museum was used according to the museum techniques of that era, ie, with a contemplative vision emphasizing the objects more than the collection itself. The artifacts consisted of ceramics, stone, metal, skeletons and replicas of some farming tools from different cultures and eras Pre-Inca. Following the old structure (suffering declines in coverage etc.) the use of the building was changed unfortunately, as repositories for materials and artifacts from the old museum. Finally, a project to organize a museum-graphic screenplay was essential to the functioning of the final museum, offering a coherent proposal that could give local and foreign visitors a response to their information needs.

The museum is not a static institution, quite the contrary; it expresses the dynamism of knowledge and research in Machu Picchu, and it is why it is projected to continue running in the future with plans of the installation of interactive rooms, a library and others exciting additions all with the intention of generating sufficient resources to meet its own functional and operational financial needs.

The museum presents a collection of 250 original objects between stone, metal, ceramic, bone and others; a result of archaeological research in the recent decades in the Inca City of Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. These findings have been the product of archeological “digs”  conducted by Cusquenian researchers, and other professionals of Instituto Nacional de Cultura de Cusco.

Within the collection, one of the many highlights is the lithic artifacts used in the construction of the Inca city. There are nails and rings embedded in astrals and used for mooring the rafters made of straw, and in the roofs of the precincts that were formed by one or more inclined planes or tracks (depending on the type and structure of buildings, were: one, two, four or water). Likewise there are tools such as “percutores” made from different types of rock: granite, andesite, basalt, boulders and hematitas among others that were used in construction work. The stones were carved in such a way that “coincided” with each other, in some cases, the construction involves a helical flat, ie a plane that fits with a concave and convex alveoli carved into the rock formations, and providing stability to the building. The other blocks of stone set an example of the integration with the environment and optimization of the materials.

The buildings were adapted to the environment and are an example of the utilization of relief as a design element and factored in the location, orientation and urban scope.

At Machu Picchu, quarrying (as a specialized work) was done by some of the people who had the experience and knowledge learned that had been passes down by tradition.

The use of stone for miscellaneous objects were for everyday purposes such as mortars, mortar hands, agricultural tools, qupanas, axes and knives. As well objects for hunting and military use, and others for ceremonial purposes, such as bodies of water, mini sculptures, “illas” and ornaments. Various types of stones, both local and exotic, were modeled by percussion lasqueado, by direct and indirect pressure and finally polished.

The work was performed using shale and sharp instruments and more resistant materials, that scraped the surface until the object was honed and polished. The discs of different diameters were used as lids, fusayolas as well as other things with simple and small geometric shapes, circular, rectangular or triangular. There were also mini sculptures of zoomorphic forms that were probably used for ceremonial functions.

The schist was extracted from the veins of the lower crags of the mountain of Machu Picchu (South-East of the city, and other surrounding areas) and at the bottom of Intipunku, metamorphic rock. Judging from its availability and the recovery of artifacts in preparation, most was worked locally in the city of Machu Picchu.

In the city of Machu Picchu, the metal appears to have been of a distinct type. The work on said metal appears to have involved the specialized work of people under the control and state organization. Machu Picchu is well located for development of these activities due to its location favored by air currents that were useful for the performance of ovens or wayras, and the abundant availability of fuel that would have been available. An alloy closely linked to the Inca state was copper with tin, called in the native language “hichasqa chakrusqa”. The tin was a material extracted mainly from deposits of cassiterite in the Northern Andes of Bolivia. More than likely, in Machu Picchu, this alloy was melted and transformed into objects and tools, replacing or complementing perhaps the arsenic that (until late stages of the Inca state) was being used because of its increased accessibility. As with other metals, the state controlled the production of tin and therefore the production of artifacts and copper alloy played an important role in its distribution.

Among the collection of finds were pins, truncheon, ornaments, mirrors, tweezers, needles, knives of silver, copper and bronze. The baton bronze was an important finding that helped in understanding the metallurgical activities that took place in the city of Machu Picchu. A workshop was located in the north sector. This compound was found with a truncheon copper slag amorphous, covered with coal and ash, forged in a mold developed on the same surface of the clay floor. Similarly, in the same compound they found pin copper, associated with a metal ornament in the form of "qantu" (Peruvian national flower). This finding suggests that there was a differential in comparison with other sectors and was being manufactured devices copper and metal forging. Significantly, the type of manufacturing and consistency of the objects had to be closely related to its function.

The laminated metal was one of the first techniques used by the Inca society. They used heat to achieve better malleability and thus ensuring thinner sheets. The Incas would use continuous blows with “percutores” on a flat stone or anvil and put the metal within two hides: It was a technique used to obtain plates that would then cut, using flint knives and chisels of copper and brass. This allowed them to manufacture objects like bracelets, plates and mirrors. In the case of gold bracelets, laminate was developed to be used as an offering and in the construction of an artificial platform, found in the plaza adjacent to the Fields of the Condor. In the plaza, there were exposed ceramic objects that were used for various daily activities; and ceremonial uses as well.

While most cultures around the world believed in the continuity of life after death, the Inca culture believed there existed a new life after the previous life. Proof of this is the paraphernalia that were deposited next to the individuals, like everyday objects that the deceased possessed and that he would be useful in his new life: these included cooking pans, knives, utensils and ceremonial objects consisting of clothing and personal ornaments. Thus, we are talking about a different conception of the nature of death where, which reproduced models of life similar to those already known.

The funeral rituals in Machu Picchu involved food and festivities. Wrapped food and drink were carried around the periphery of entry and burial caves. Samples of what were in the jars (to eat and drink) have been found around the contexts. It should be noted that the dead Inca ancestors were the subject of veneration, as they contributed to good harvests, the procreation of animals and the good performance of communities.

To achieve the seven sequences described above, it was necessary to preserve the architectural appropriateness of the museum building. It is not in keeping with the necessary characteristics according to conventional visions of contemporary museums.  The spatial organization and the architectural composition of the architecture has flows with the Inca city of Machu Picchu. The spatial developments via “semi-enclosed” spaces create a visual connection between each other and accentuate the dynamic route of exposure. Also, the use of geometric cylindrical shapes and semi-circular and trapezoidal ones as well bring the memory the Inca architecture, resulting in the ideal framework for the material that is part of the exhibit.


  • Please leave your personal things in the closet

  • Buy the ticket for the museum and botanical garden in the desk of site museum

  • It's forbidden to take pictures or videos inside show rooms

  • Photography in the botanical garden is permitted

Source: Instituto Nacional de Cultura


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