In the heart of the Old District of Panama City, Casco Viejo, sits the fantastic Panama Interoceanic Canal Museum. The museum provides a history of the planning, construction and operation of the world’s most famous Canal. Housed in the old Canal administration building which was built by the French as a regional headquarters.
As with the building’s occupants the exhibits switch focus from the abortive and costly French attempt to the successful American effort and eventual takeover by the Panamanian government in 2000. It was built in 1875 as a hotel equipped with a monumental structure in the French style. It occupies a total building area of over 4 000 square meters. This museum, one of the most popular on the Isthmus, displays the Canal’s unparalleled engineering achievement through state-of-the-art methods.
Tools and other historical items are displayed alongside clippings and photographs displaying progress on the canal allow an insight into the physical reality of digging the channel – a colossal undertaking regardless of technological development. Displays are in Spanish but headsets are available for those with a thirst for history and facts, ranging from the numerous treaties and dealings with other countries to the pre-Columbian history of the area. The museum is a fascinating and insightful way of exploring the story of the Panama Canal and its location in the center of Panama’s delightful old town is an added bonus.
This post is also available in: Spanish