October 30 2021
Students and teachers from Spanish Panama visited the new Museum of Liberty. It is a beautiful building with a serious message. It is the first of several planned buildings so we plan on returning when each new section is built and opened.
This is an initiative of the non-profit Democracy and Freedom Foundation, created to promote democratic values, the principle of freedom and respect for human rights. This, the first of 5 planned pavilions, is called “Equality.” It opened on May 22, 2019.
The museum is open from 9:30am to 4pm but check before going in case the times change. Tours are available in Spanish and English and last about 1 ½ hours. Guides are bilingual, young and enthusiastic, willing and able to answer questions. There is plenty of free parking. It is also handicap accessible, a freedom of access that is limited in many older museums.
Dictatorships, human rights violations, exploitation of labor, restriction of public information and the murder of journalists plus many more topics are covered plus some of the responses to these abuses. This museum is a work in progress.
For instance, they cover the Panamanian crisis during the military dictatorship and the American response, ‘Operation Just Cause.’ Since this is a topic of controversy they avoid taking sides but give you information so that you can form your own opinion. Other divisive topics are treated likewise. This museum encourages you to think.
Near the entrance is a reproduction of the Cyrus Cylinder. The original is in the London Museum. This cylinder, only 23cm long and 11cm wide, contains 40 lines of text, the first declaration of human rights.
Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon. In 539, he read the Charter of Freedom of Humanity at the Temple of Marduk. He freed slaves, enacted freedom of religion and prohibited his men from invading the property and life of the people. People were allowed to move about freely and live where they chose.
This museum is full of the amazing stories, and of ideals followed or broken, that affect our lives today. Another informative field trip from our school to a museum few had heard about.