History of the Miguel Angel Builes Ethnographic Museum

In the decade of the 50, in the Seminary of Missions of Yarumal, began to collect objects elaborated by the natives of the places where the missionaries realized the first missions: From the region of Magdalena Medio, crossing by the old territory of the Apostolic Prefecture From Labateca, until reaching Arauca and later the territories of the Great Vaupes that currently covers the departments of Vaupes, Guaviare and Guainia, Istmina (Choco) and Buenaventura on the Pacific Coast. This was the origin of what we know today as MIGUEL ANGEL BUILES ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM (MEMAB).

Appointed in honor of Bishop Miguel Angel Builes, founder of the Yarumal Missionaries, the museum began at the Yarumal Missions Seminary in 1962. In 1970, the then Superior General of the Missionaries, Father Heriberto Correa Yepes, and The General Council of the Community, determined the construction of a building in the city of Medellin that was destined for a museum, and share with the community this important collection of objects that show a great cultural richness of the indigenous and Afro ethnic groups. The Yarumal Missionaries interact in Colombia and other regions of Latin America, Africa and Asia.

The General Council of the Missionaries of Yarumal commissioned Father Francisco Arango Montoya, the management of the foundation of the museum in the city of Medellin and as its first director. Father Arango was distinguished for his dedication to the study of indigenous cultures and to cartography in various areas of Colombia, which is why he earned and received the title of anthropologist, Honoris Causa, from the National University of Colombia.

In 1972, Brother Bernardo Arboleda, was in charge of the management of the transfer of the objects that were in the seminar of Yarumal and worked in the organization and arrangement of the exhibition halls to open the doors to the public the 29 of September of the same one Year, on the occasion of the celebration of the first anniversary of the death of the Founder, Monsignor Builes.

The Museum has an inventory of more than two thousand ethnographic pieces for daily use, ritual and subsistence, representative of diverse cultures of Colombia and other countries, arranged in five permanent exhibition rooms: Amazon, Antioquia and Chocó, Caribbean, Asia , Africa and Latin America and Archaeological Hall. It also has a temporary room where visual arts and thematic exhibitions are held and also offers educational and cultural programming.

Since 2009 MEMAB has begun a process of updating and renewal, which has had the support of various institutions, including the City Hall of Medellín through the Secretariat of Citizen Culture and its programs of PADRINO PLAN and PUBLIC TRAINING; The Ministry of Culture of the Colombian government, through the calls for incentives in which the museum has won in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The MEMAB has also had the timely support of other benefactors such as The Missionaries of Scarborough, Toronto, Canada and individuals. Thus it has been able to renew its rooms with a new content and audiovisual aids, seeking to update itself from the new advances of museology and museography.

At present, MEMAB continues to seek strategic alliances with other institutions, with the objective of continuing with its work of preserving and disseminating the cultural heritage of the ethnic groups of Colombia and other regions of the world where they carry out their missionary activity the Javerian Missionaries of Yarumal .

The mision of Miguel Angel Builes 
Enthnografic Museum Builes is focused on:

  • Preservation of the cultural heritage of Colombia.
  • The contribution to the process of training of children and young people of the Department of Antioquia and the Andean Region, in aspects like:
    • The knowledge and acceptance of the diverse cultural expressions and forms of life that exist in our nation.
    • The urgency of valuing, preserving and disseminating the cultural heritage of our country.
    • To emphasize the importance of the missionary activity in the transformations and social processes of the human groups of Colombia and the world, where the Missionaries are present.

History of the Yarumal Misionaries

The Seminary of Foreign Missions was founded in Yarumal, Antioquia, on July 3, 1927, by Bishop Miguel Angel Builes, Bishop of the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Osos (Antioquia, Colombia).

It was approved by the Holy See as a Pontifical Missionary Congregation in 1937, with the official name: Yarumal Institute of Foreign Missions (IMEY), better known as Yarumal Missionaries or Javerian Missionaries, in honor of its patron, San Francisco Javier.

The first missionary priests were ordained in 1938 and began their missionary work in the North Coast of Colombia, with center in Simití, Bolivar. Year after year, the missionaries were founding missions in diverse territories of Colombia, among them: Labateca, Santander; Arauca; The great Vaupes that currently comprises the territories of Vaupés, Guaviare and Guainía; Buenaventura; Istmina (Chocó) and San Andrés and Providencia, territories in which they interacted with indigenous, mestizo and afro-descendant communities.

Since 1971, missions have begun in several countries in the Americas: Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Panama, Peru, Honduras and the United States; Of Africa: Marl Coast, Cameroon, Angola, Mali, Kenya and Ethiopia; And Asia: Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines.

The IMEY has been consolidated as a Congregation of Priests, Brothers and Lay Associates, for the announcement of the Good News of salvation to those who do not know Jesus Christ and among them the poorest.

Bishop Miguel Angel Builes, founder and first Superior General, is recognized as "the Missionary Bishop of Colombia", because he founded, in addition, three other missionary congregations: The Missionaries of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in 1929; The Contemplative Teresitas del Santísimo in 1939 and the Sisters Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy in 1951.