Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre
History and museums
Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre (MNH), (Museum of Nature and Man in English), is a museum based in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife, (Canary Islands, Spain). It contains many significant archaeological finds and is considered the best repository of objects from the Prehispanic Canary Islands. The museum also houses significant paleontological, botanical, entomological and marine and terrestrial vertebrate collections, in an excellent state of preservation, and is considered the best Natural Library of the Canary Islands.
The museum also integrates the Archaeological Museum of Tenerife, the Bioantropología's Canary Institute and the Museum of Natural Sciences of Tenerife. The museum is located in the downtown area of Santa Cruz, in the former Civil Hospital, a building that constitutes an example of the neoclassical architecture of Canary Islands. The archaeological section was founded in 1958.
The museum holds the largest collection on the culture of the Guanche and also has one of the most modern methods of presentation of mummies, (announced in 2006 by the Cabildo de Tenerife through a communique). It is also an internationally renowned museum and has participated in international meetings on archeology, but its fame is mainly due to its formidable collection of Guanche mummies. It is also regarded as the most important museum of Macaronesia.
Founded in 1958 with funds from the Section of Archeology and Anthropology Museum of the City of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, its first director was Luis Diego Cuscoy, who brought together a unique collection of archaeological material and human remains from the prehistory of Tenerife. During the sixties, funds were raised to add to the collections, including ethnographic and archeological materials from Africa and Pre-Columbian America. At present the museum exhibits prehistoric archaeological remains both from Tenerife and the rest of the Canary Islands as well as other cultures.
On permanent exhibition is a gallery dedicated to the archaeology and the funeral rituals of the aboriginal world. Displayed are the museums collection of skeletal and mummified remaims of the original inhabitants of the Canary Islands, along with objects buried in the tombs of the guanche kings (Menceyes). One of the best preserved mummies is that of the Mummy of San Andrés, are also important Guanche mummies of Necochea calls among others.
The museum also exhibits a fine collection of ceramics and fossils of prehistoric animals both of Canaries and of the rest of the world, such as the giant lizard of Tenerife (Gallotia goliath), the Tenerife Giant Rat (Canariomys bravoi) and a megalodon shark tooth.
The museum features a formidable collection of mummies, ornaments, models of aboriginal settlements and pottery. The history ocvered ranges from the beginnings of the Guanche culture to the Conquest of the Canary Islands. Some of its key parts are:
In 1992 the Museum of Nature and Man participated in an international research project on mummies (called PROJECT CRONOS), with a global exhibition of mummies. For this reason, the Museum of Nature and Man is a world reference in regard to preservation of mummies.
Foreign television companies such as the American JWM Productions (Discovery Channel) and NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai) have filmed in 2009 documentaries on mummies in the museum.
The Archaeological Museum of Tenerife took part in the Great Exhibition on mummies in 2010 which was held in Granada (Spain). The exhibition feature pieces from various civilizations and geographical environments including the 8000-year-old American "Chinchorro". There was also be a representation of the sarcophagi of Egypt, the arid zones of the Andes, the marshes of Denmark, the "men of the ice" (like the mummy Ötzi), which appear from time to time in the cemeteries of Spanish and Guanche mummies in the museum.
Between 2014 and 2015 he held a similar exhibition entitled Momias, testigos del pasado (Mummies, witnesses of the past), held in the Parque de las Ciencias de Granada in Andalusia. This time the Archaeological Museum of Tenerife contributed to sample two Guanche mummies and other archaeological artifacts. As before, this exhibition was also mummified from various parts of the world and various ancient cultures remains.
Meanwhile in 2015, the main state television of South Korea, is the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), filmed the Guanche mummies museum, which will be included in a documentary titled "The Next Human", part a scientific project which aims to show the evolution of the human being through the findings of its own DNA.
In the summer of 2015 a documentary was also filmed in the museum premises. The "Misterio Adventura" program of Italian television.