The art and history museum in Valencia, Venezuela is housed in the
Casa de los Celis, a lovely house in the center of the city,
atypical of the colonial homes that were built during the 18th
century. The collection
includes books, colonial art, documents and various anthropology and
paleontology artifacts that have been recovered from the country.
It is a National monument site and it is an important part of
the educational studies of the local school children.
Here they learn about the historical and cultural heritage of
the religion and conservation of these wonderful items.
Parts of the collection include; the Andres Perez Mujica
collection, colonial art collection, collection findings and dreams,
the historical archives of Maria Clemencia Camaran, a colonial
kitchen, the library and the staff's offices.
The house itself is a beautiful example of colonial style
architecture and has a history in its own.
The first owner was a colonel in the cavalry, the first
nominated mayor of Nueva Valencia del Rey and the war for
this war, it was occupied by the Spanish, and other times by the
patriots. In 1821, it
was used as a hospital, and when the war was over and the colonel
returned, he was forced to leave because of his alliance with Spain.
The new government took control of it and turned it into a
hospital again, until it became the property of Jose Maria Briceno,
a local hero, since the government didn't have the money to keep it
a hospital. After
Briceno died, his widow sold the home to the Celis family in 1839,
which was a wealthy and well-to-do family.
They made many repairs and refurbished much of the home.
In 1964, the house was made a National monument, but was in
need of many repairs.
With the necessary funds acquired, it was restored, and by 1971
became the museum of art and history.
The first collection that came to this museum belonged to the
painter and sculptor Andres Perez Mujica which his widow donated.
Teatro Municipal de Valencia
The municipal theater of Valencia was
constructed in the late 19th century, and was opened in 1894 with a
seating capacity of 647.
The ceiling was painted by Antonio Herrera Toro, with images of the
great masters of music and literature, and was declared a National
Historic landmark in 1964.
The architectural style and the paintings are the main
reasons for its inclusion and is now thought to be one of the most
prominent buildings in the country.
The plans for the theater actually were designed in 1879, but
with the death of Navas Spinola, the construction was delayed.
In 1887, the plans were approved and construction began, and
in 1889, the architect ordered much of the wrought iron that was to
be used in the building from overseas.
In 1891 and 92, Toro began painting the ceiling and had to
divide it up into three parts because it was circular.
In the first area, he painted the images of Goethe, Moliere,
Calderon and Shakespeare; four famous playwrights, and four famous
musicians; Auber, Meyerbeer, Rossini and Beethoven.
In the next area, he painted the personification of painting,
the comedy, the dance, the tragedy and music that is entwined with
garlands of flowers and fruit.
And in the last space, many arches with names inscribed
inside like Alexandre Dumas, Gluck, Byron, Moratin, Lope de Vega,
Donizetti, Vincenzo Bellini, Breton, Andres Bello, Goldoni and Larra.
Then in 1892, the theater is considered ready and the
furniture is ordered, only to have the legalist revolution start and
the theater ends up being occupied and used as the headquarters.
During this time, the entire place begins to run down and is
in desperate need of maintenance and repair.
Finally in 1894, it is refurbished and readied to open.
Again in 1949, the terrible state of the conditions in the
theater called for more repairs to be done, and the floors and
ceiling were done first.
New dressing rooms were built, facades replaced with more
redecorating and seat replacements; and new fire alarm system
installed. It was
reopened in 1950, and in 1966 more renovations were done.
In 1971 to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the Battle of
Carabobo, much redecorating was done to the theater and its
furniture; and finally in 1979, the theater was closed for major
reworks. In 1994 and 95,
the theater was picked to have a major upgrade that would increase
the seating and return the building to its original condition.