Boca Raton strikes gold with exhibit ‘Machu Picchu and the Golden Empires of Peru’

“Machu Pichu and the Golden Empires of Peru” is a rare exhibition kicking off its world tour here in South Florida on Oct. 16 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art.

The exhibition was announced Tuesday at the museum amid a festive atmosphere with Peruvian musicians, cuisine and visual artists along with officials including Florida Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee and Peruvian Consul in Miami Martha Lizarraga Picciotti.

It is the most amazing Andean gold collection that has ever traveled the world, according to the organizers. The exhibit includes a selection of 192 artifacts from royal tombs, including objects that belonged to noble Andean lords, never before seen out of Peru. One of the exhibition’s highlights is a fully intact gold attire that belonged to an emperor of the pre-Inca Chimu civilization that dates to 1300 AD.

The exhibition will span the entire museum, including the galleries on both floors, for five months until March 6, 2022.

Visitors will be able to sign up for a wait list to buy tickets starting Tuesday, May 18. Official ticket sales will begin at the end of July, say organizers.

“Machu Picchu is a monument to the Inca civilization and today it is a World Heritage Site. Since its discovery on July 25, 1911, by Hiram Bingham, these ancient ruins have remained one of the world’s top tourist attractions. To climb the steep steps to its peak is a memorable journey. We are proud to bring this sense of wonder and excitement of this major discovery to Boca Raton,“ Irvin Lippman, executive director of the Boca Raton Museum of Art, told the Sun Sentinel.

Due to the current global pandemic, the need for social distancing, and other measures to prevent the coronavirus spread, the number of visitors allowed to visit Machu Picchu yearly has dipped to 250,000.

“This [exhibition] will allow Machu Picchu to be enjoyed by many people who want to go and who cannot go,” said Jose Koechlin, CEO of Inkaterra.

To give visitors peace of mind amid the pandemic, the exhibition will occupy all floors of the museum. “The importance of this exhibition and our desire to provide the opportunity for visitors to see the 192 objects that are part of it, requires that we use the entire museum,” Lippman said. “In addition, we want to avoid crowds and make visitors feel very comfortable by having plenty of space between them.“

“Machu Picchu and the Golden Empires” of Peru will show the rich history and traditions of Peruvian culture as it has never been done before, said the museum’s director.

Master ceramist Apolinario

Master ceramist Apolinario “Polo” Ramirez uses a stone and wooden paddle to create one of his designs before a news conference announcing that “Machu Picchu and the Golden Empires of Peru” will open Oct. 16 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Amy Beth Bennett / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Guided by Ai Apaec, a mythical Andean hero, visitors will explore one of the most important archaeological ruins in the Cusco region, known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Machu Picchu was a fortress and a shrine of the Incas, and includes agricultural terraces, stone houses and several ceremonial temples made with immense stones.

The Inca sanctuary of Machu Picchu has also been recognized as Best Cultural Destination by the World Travels Awards and is considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world. The precision with which the Incas arranged the stones without using any type of cement or mortar, and the fact that the entire structure is on top of a mountain, makes the citadel a masterpiece of engineering and architecture.

This exhibition will try to transport visitors on an immersive journey to enjoy this ancient city located 2,130 meters above sea level in the Andes Mountains.

“An immersive experience has been created by the exhibition designers that will transport the visitor into the Andes. A special virtual tour of Machu Picchu has been developed to offer visitors an opportunity to feel as though they are on a personal exploration of this ‘wonder of the world,’ “ Lippman added.

The exhibition will encompass the entire museum, including all the galleries on both floors, with 192 original objects from the Inca citadel, for five months until March 6, 2022.

The exhibition will encompass the entire museum, including all the galleries on both floors, with 192 original objects from the Inca citadel, for five months until March 6, 2022. (World Heritage Exhibitions/Courtesy)

Anthony Tann, president and chairman of World Heritage Exhibitions, said the immersive experience is 12 minutes. “You will be like in a virtual reality theater where you have virtual reality headsets on, you are in a chair that moves so it moves with the body and it feels like you’re moving through Machu Picchu. It takes you through an entire journey to really see what see what Machu is like… it’s a 100 percent realistic rendering of Machu Picchu as if you and I are looking at each other right now. It’s not the normal VR you are used to. It’s a whole new generation of virtual reality,” Tann said.

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Cityneon is presenting the exhibition with support from the government of Peru, the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, and in partnership with Inkaterra Asociacion. The artifacts are on loan from Museo Larco in Lima, Peru, and Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón.

Exhibition ticket prices start at $19.95. To sign up for the waiting list to buy tickets, visit

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