Trujillo Museum

Museum entrance

The Trujillo Museum is one of the major highlights of Trujillo. This museum is unlike any you're ever likely to visit anywhere else in the World.
If it's a sunny day (and most Trujillan days are,) don't forget to pack your swimsuit before you go.
The Museum is a ten minute walk going west from the Trujillo Hotel. You will know you are approaching when you see the huge tractor tire with "Museo" painted on it. The gate to the museum is only little further, and once inside on your right you will see a huge rubber tree. Meander a little more in the courtyard and you will find the remnants of two US military planes - a Cessna and a Hercules - that crashed in the Contra era. A plaque commemorates the victims of the crash.
A man approaches us. It is Rufino Galan, director and creator of the Trujillo Museum. Director Galan tells us that many of the relatives come down once a year to Trujillo to commemorate the fatal Hercules crash.
Over to the left of the wreckage is an old tractor that is so rusty it looks like it is melting back into the jungle. A placard describes in great detail the origins and uses this tractor has had.

Director Rudulfo Galan

After tea we enter the museum. The fee is ridiculously low. If you can, donate more. The money does not do to waste.
Once inside, one is bombarded by a visual collage of objects; fading photographs, rusty guns, animal bones, printing presses, molding books, paper money, stamps, lanterns, moth eaten hats. There is so much stuff that it takes the breath away. A gramophone is playing in the background. Director Galan and his son Marvin do their best to keep things in working order. One section is given over exclusively to old mechanical and simi electric calculators that are in various stages of decay. Another isle is dedicated to typewriters.
Halfway through the collection the theme changes; Western Civilization is left behind and one is confronted by a bewildering collection of Pre Colombian artifacts. The collection would have archaeologists tearing out their hair; original artifacts stand side by side with contemporary look-alikes. Many years ago Director Galan discovered a significant find of artifacts in nearby caves, and ever since there has been significant controversy over their authenticity. Director Galan is unmoved. Nothing leaves his museum, he has little regard for academic whims. He tells us however that there have been some thefts. The burglars stole several of the Pre Colombian pieces. Strange criminal behavior indeed if the objects were of no value.

Hundreds of clay figures

Museum experiences invariably end up leaving the visitor mentally exhausted, tired, sleepy, hot, and sweaty. This is where the Trujillo Museum rises in stature above any other museum we have ever experienced. At best, other museums have bathrooms and a place to get a snack, but the Trujillo Museum's back door leads to a botanical delight of giant Bamboo and Spanish Cedar Trees, Monkeys and Tepasqinte. At the bottom of the incline are four large pools, fed by the pristine river water of the Rio Crystales which originates in the pristine National Forest behind Trujillo. There is shaded areas, small private enclaves and public ones for larger groups of visitors. A rope bridge crosses the Rio Crystales affording the observer a beautiful view up towards the jungle forest.

Mountain fed pools

The pools are different depths, one suitable for kids and a deeper one for more experienced swimmers. We dive in. The water is cool and refreshing. Birdsong fills the air. Butterflies fly by; it is paradise.

Many people would consider the bulk of Director Galan's collection nothing more than a collection of junk. This is because we have been taught that a museum should be an institution for the preservation of the past, where objects are, explained and placed in context. At the Trujillo museum - as in real life - objects are in process; here no attempt has been made to stem the inevitable tide of entropy. Hats rot, photos fade. Director Galan's gramophone will eventually resist one more repair. The visitor is confronted with the fact that eventually all will turn to dust. It is only that at this museum it will happen a little sooner.
The affirmation of life that takes place behind the museum rounds off the harsh realization of material decay. When you leave the Trujillo Museum, you leave physically and spiritually refreshed.
In a wealthier country, Director Galan's Museum would be the recipient of grants and endowments. In our opinion he'd be a shoo-in for a McArthur Foundation award. But Honduras is a poor country; there is no rewards for inspired projects such as this. Even in Trujillo Director Galan many consider him nothing more than a harmless crank. The local government merely taxes his museum. Times are tough. However, Rulfino Galan has been collecting and constructing for twenty two years and shows no sign of letting up. His son, Marvin Galan helps him with the endless work of expansion and upkeep. The museum will be here when you are ready.

| More pictures of the Museum |