Panama Canal Museum

Plaza de la Independencia, Calle 5a Este, Panamá, Panama

The structure in the Casco Viejo that houses this museum has a fascinating history. When it was built back in 1874, its facade—which features mansard roofs and gaslights—was an architectural novelty for Panama. Count Ferdinand de Lesseps acquired it in 1881 to headquarter the Universal Inter-Oceanic Canal Company; it then fell into U.S. hands as part of that nation’s canal-building concession. A museum since 1997, it features 11 exhibition galleries and presents a rich learning experience on conserving, researching, and giving voice to Panama’s history, such as the Torrijos-Carter Treaties (which returned the canal to Panamanian hands) and the Panamanian flag that was damaged on January 9, 1964, during an event known as Martyrs’ Day, one of the bloodiest episodes in the struggle for control of the canal.

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