Museo de la Altagracia
Hola, Bienvenido al Museo de la Altagracia, (Hello, Welcome to the Museum of la Altagracia)
The Museum of la Altagracia is located in the gardens of the Basilica Our Lady of la Altagracia at Higüey, on the east of the Dominican Republic. Is a unique and privileged place to gain knowledge of the Dominican identity. Its heritage includes a collection of historical, artistic and sacred objects from the seventeenth thru twentieth centuries.
The collection allows visitors to come in contact with traditions and customs that remain alive in the country to this day. The Museum provides a history and understanding of the devotion the people have for their Protector, The Virgin of la Altagracia.
The museum was inaugurated on July 26, 2012, is a building of 1,800 square meters, in which are shown seven rooms.
It also has a room for temporary exhibitions, an auditorium and a cafeteria.
ROOM 1: History and Legend of the Virgin of la Altagracia.
Through a video is presented the historical events and legends of the Virgin and the narratives of the highlights of this first existing Marian devotion in the new world, since the early sixteenth century.
By 1650, the clergyman Alcocer wrote about this miraculous Virgin, the legend of a young girl that dreamed about the image and the history about two brothers with the last name Trejo, that have came from Extremadura, Spain , with the image for the villa of Higüey. Both version are combine on this film.
ROOM 2: Medallions
The exhibition of sixteen oils on wood, painted by Diego José Hilaris in the last third of the eighteenth century. It’s a serie that originally consist on 27 medallions, that only 16 paintings, 4 with the original cartouche and 3 cartouches without the paintings are conserved. They have a carve loop above and a cartouche below. Been all oval, traditionally are known as “medallions”.
In this collection we can see several miracles of the Virgin of la Altagracia, reminded for sure preserved in writing or oral histories told from one generation to generation.
Being all equal in their format and having been made by the same artist, evidence a special order that wouldn’t be other than the priest in charge at time, at the church of Higüey,
They recount miraculous events occurred in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
ROOM 3: Religious Art
We can see here Dominican, Peruvian and European painting from eighteenth to twentieth centuries.
In imagery we have saints of clothing made in the country and the traditional popular saints carved on oak wood, called "Santos de palo" of nineteenth century.
Rounding out the room there’s chasubles, hand pieces, stoles, covers chalices from eighteenth century; a large silver shrine of the same century, scapulars and "detentes" nineteenth century.
ROOM 4: Treasure
Showing over sixty pieces of the local goldsmiths, and also of others countries of America, from seventeenth to the twentieth century. They include gold and emeralds, pyxes, a censer, the sacred of the Consecration and the manifestor.
The great Processional Throne, held in the country in 1811, is one of the most attractive pieces.
ROOM 5: San Dionisio and The Basilica
It tells the story of the old sanctuary built between 1567 and 1572. One of seventh oldest church of the new world.
Also shown sketches made by the French architect Dunoyer de Segonzac, for the construction of the Basilica, which was completed and inaugurated in 1971.
The Bula of Pope Paul VI named the Basilica of Higüey as Cathedral; and belongings of the four bishops who have been at the diocese of la Altagracia and a short film about both celebration of Our Lady of la Altagracia, one on January 21 and the other on august 14, every year.
ROOM 6/7: EX-VOTO
The thousands of votive offerings, promises or miracles preserved in the Sanctuary are tangible testimonies of graces received. This ancient tradition remains valid today. Usually made of silver and gold, there are also made with dissimilar skills in different materials.
All have been successful examples of gratitude, from different eras and aesthetic conceptions. Together they constitute the manifestation of the faith through history.