Museum Information

Tue, May 24, 2022

Museum Information

Museum of the Word and Image /Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen (MUPI), El Salvador

The MUPI is a foundation dedicated to the investigation, preservation, and dissemination of the historical and cultural patrimony of El Salvador. The MUPI permanently accompanies indigenous and peasant communities in their process to document their historical memory, and organizes youth workshops on themes such as memory and human rights.

MISSION: Contribute to the educational and cultural development of the country through the conservation and distribution of El Salvador’s national heritage, and to create spaces of reflection on societal problems.

VISION: To be a leading citizen initiative in El Salvador dedicated to the creation and preservation of historical memory.

HISTORY: After the Civil War (1980-1992) and with the signing of the Chapultepec Peace Accords in 1992, journalist Carlos Henríquez Consalvi (also known as “Santiago”), directed a team initiative to rescue diverse archives and audio files on social movements. This conservation effort is then extended to include diverse themes regarding Salvadoran culture, identity, and history.

The MUPI possesses an exceptional archive that includes photos, film, audio, video, posters, objects, publications, paintings and drawings, newspapers, manuscripts and books, which sectors of Salvadoran society have donated to the institution. Some of these objects once belonged to historical figures such as writer and painter, Salarrué; political activist and poet, Roque Dalton; pianist and musicologist, María de Baratta; poet, political activist, and presidential candidate, Prudencia Ayala; poet, novelist, diplomat, and lawyer, Hugo Lindo; poet, anthropologist, and linguist, Pedro Geoffroy Rivas; and poet, essayist, and playwright, Matilde Elena López, among others.

This initiative responded to the 1996 campaign, “Against the Chaos of Forgetting” (“Contra el caos de la desmemoria”), which has permanently invited the public to donate or lend objects or documents of cultural, historical, or artistic significance. In addition, the MUPI library specializes in social issues and justice, and houses more than 2,000 sources available for consultation.

The MUPI participated in the committee which erected “Memory and Truth,” a monument dedicated to the civilian victims of human rights violations during the armed conflict. Although located in the capital San Salvador, the MUPI also organizes exhibitions, talks, workshops, and film screenings that travel to the most isolated areas of the country and which address issues of culture, memory, and human rights. The museum also publishes books, audiovisuals, and airs the radio show “Weaving Memory” (Tejiendo la Memoria). In 2008, the institution received an International Prince Claus Award to honor its cultural work. Due to its activities, the Museum of the Word and Image has become a genuine phenomenon of citizen participation and was recognized by the AECID for “Best Cultural Practices for Development” in 2008. In 2010, the MUPI received the Ford Award for producing the educational board game “Los Izalcos” which teaches participants about the indigenous culture of the Izalco peoples; that same year the MUPI also received the category two, Ibero-American Prize of Museums and Education.


  • The History of Chiyo (La Historia de Chiyo). Captures the childhood experiences of orphans who survived the war separated from their families or exiled outside the country. Lucio Vásquez, “Chiyo”, a Salvadoran child who grew up in an era of authoritarianism and violence, survived the war to tell his story as a song of humanism and hope.
  • Our Voices (Nuestras Voces). Through abrupt phrases and moving reflections, this Central American diary illuminates the profound need of youth to make their demands, dreams, and ideals heard. Reflections over human rights, identity, memory, violence, and cultural diversity are some of the themes covered. The exhibition came to fruition through workshops realized with youth who reflected over these themes. The exhibition was constructed collectively with new voices, our voices.
  • Romero, voice and gaze (Romero, voz y mirada). This exhibition is composed of unedited photographs of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero and selected citations from his speeches. As an advocate of Liberation Theology, Romero passionately denounced the military massacres of peasant, poor, and indigenous communities during the Civil War (1980-1992). Photographs include the young priest in the 80s, his travels abroad, his journeys through peasant communities, and photos of landscapes, faces, and villages from the Salvadoran interior taken by Romero himself. The exhibition is the product of a rescue and conservation effort which the MUPI launched in 2010 when Delmi Santos Cabrera entrusted the institution with more than 400 color slides. As a personal friend of Romero, Mrs. Santos Cabrera had received the photographs in person months before Romero’s assassination.
  • From War to Peace (De la guerra a la paz). Photos, manuscripts, and objects from the armed conflict to the peace accords; also includes the “Cave of Passions,” one of the transmission points of the Radio We Will Overcome (Radio Venceremos). Although banned by the dictatorship and punishable by death, the radio reported human rights violations and broadcasted cultural programs during the Civil War (1980-1992) as the part of the educational campaign of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), a peasant guerrilla movement.
  • The Archbishop Lives! (Monseñor Vive!) Photographs, objects, and posters reveal how urban and rural communities have adopted the thoughts of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero on the 30th anniversary of his assassination and martyrdom on March 24th, 1980.
  • Pilgrim of the Homeland: Pedro Geoffroy Rivas (Patria Peregrina: Pedro Geoffroy Rivas). Exhibition on the life and works of poet, lawyer, anthropologist and linguist (1908-1979); a vital exploration of Salvadoran history and cultural.
  • The Legacy of Salarrué (El Legado de Salarrué). Exhibition on Salvadoran writer and painter Salazar Arrué, Salarrué (1899-1975). Manuscripts, images, objects, and paintings from the private collection of the artist and his family.
  • Prudencia Ayala: In Defense of Women’s Rights (Prudencia Ayala: La Lucha por los Derechos Femeninos). Exhibition on the life (1885-1936) and era of El Salvador’s most important feminist and the first woman in Latin America to run for the presidency.
  • Trembling Earth: A Preventative History (Trémula Tierra: una historia para prevenir). An innovative exhibition that tells the history of El Salvador through its natural phenomena, such as its volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, and its environmental, demographic, and social impact.
  • Memory of the Izalcos (Memoria de Los Izalcos). An exhibition that rescues 100 years of ancestral cultural history with the participation of indigenous communities based in Western El Salvador.
  • Roque Dalton: A Storm that Touches the Root of the Volcanoes (Roque Dalton, tormenta tocando la raíz de los volcanes). A museological journey and conceptual exploration of the life (1935-1975), era, and poetry of the most well-known and controversial writer in El Salvador.
  • 1932. Indigenous insurrection in El Salvador and the state-led massacre of at least 10,000 people, the majority indigenous peoples; exhibition composed of oral history and anthropological research.
  • El Mozote Never Again (El Mozote nunca más). Installation and photographic display of the December 1981 military-orchestrated massacre in El Mozote, located in the Salvadoran department of Morazán. As a terror campaign, the U.S. funded and trained National Guard murdered an estimated 1,000 civilians, the majority women, children, and elderly persons.
  • Three Women (Tres Mujeres). An exhibition on national figures, Claudia Lars, Prudencia Ayala y María de Baratta.
  • The Imprints of Memory (La Huella de la Memoria). Journey through our history and its momentous events from the pre-Columbian era to the present.


  • Luciérnagas en El Mozote (Fireflies in El Mozote)
  • “El Salvador, Unicornio de la Memoria” (El Salvador, the Unicorn of Memory)
  • La Terquedad del Izote
  • Available in English: Broadcasting the Civil War in El Salvador: A Memoir of Guerrilla Radio
  • Sagatara Mío, Salarrué y Leonora (My Sagatara, Salarrué and Leonora)
  • Morazán, Recuerdos del Futuro (Morazán, Remembrances of the Future)
  • Manual de Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas (Manual on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples)
  • Informe Alternativo sobre la situación de los Pueblos Indígenas en El Salvador
  • (An Alternative report on the situation of indigenous peoples in El Salvador)
  • Kabrakán, La Furia de los Dioses (Kabrakán, The Fury of the Gods)
  • “Juego Didáctico Los Izalcos” (Educational Board Game, The Izalcos)
  • 1932, Rebelión en la Oscuridad
  • Rompiendo Silencios, desobediencia y lucha en Villa El Rosario
  • Torola, Río de los Guayabos
  • Carta del Norte, una historia de migración
  • La Lucha Así es, memoria oral de pobladores de Chalatenango
  • El Río de la Memoria, memoria oral de pobladores del Bajo Lempa Occidental
  • Romero, voz y mirada
  • Siete Gorriones
  • Trasmallo Magazines


  • “1932 Cicatriz de la Memoria” (47 min.)
    (1932, The Scar of Memory)
  • “Cuentos de Cipotes” de Salarrué en dibujos animados (27 min.)
    (Animated Cartoons of Salarrué’s “Stories of Cipotes”)
  • “La Palabra en el Bosque” (57 min)
    (The Word in the Forest)



Guided Tours: Staff specialized in topics of culture, identity, and historical memory guide visitors throughout the museum.

Traveling Exhibitions: A team travels throughout the country organizing exhibitions and book forums.

Audio Library: Conserves the radio broadcasts from the Civil War (1980-1992) of Radio We Will Overcome (Radio Venceremos) and Radio Farabundo Martí. Recordings on cultural themes and contemporary history. Voice recordings of historical actors, human rights testimonies, the status of women in El Salvador, interviews, etc.

Library: Specializes on sources for literary, historical, social science, and humanities research on El Salvador and Central America.

Film Library: Considered to be one of the most important audio visual archives in El Salvador. The library has rescued and conserved hundreds of films and reels of footage on the Civil War (1980-1992), among other Salvadoran productions, (i.e. Baltazar Polio, Alejandro Coto, Guillermo Escalón, etc.) and records on literature, history, and folklore.

Photo-library: Contains more than 35,000 images dating from 1872 to the present. Some of its most important themes include:

  • Carl V. Hartman (1896-1899). For three years the Swedish ethnographer Carl V. Hartman documented images that provide insights on 19th century indigenous cultures, and which rescue the visual memory of the Izalcos.
  • 1932. Powerful photographs regarding this indigenous revolt.
  • From War to Peace, 1980-1992. Visual documentation of the armed conflict.
  • Historical Figures. Salarrué, Alberto Masferrer, Claudia Lars, Roque Dalton, Monseñor Romero, etc…
  • Kabrakán. Images of El Salvador’s natural phenomena: earth quakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and floods.
  • Women. Prudencia Ayala, Amparo Casamalhuapa, etc.
  • History. Important historical events in El Salvador.
  • Folklore. Dance, objects, and customs.

Contact: Carlos Henríquez Consalvi, Director

Urbanización La Esperanza, 27 Av. Norte #1140

Entre 19 y 21 Calle Poniente,

San Salvador, El Salvador, Centro América.

Fax: (503) 2564-7005


1 Comentarios en esta nota

  1. Giacomo Dice:

    Conocí tu obra gracias a un libro publicado en Italia: Historia Latinoamericana Contemporánea; escrito por Massimo De Giuseppe y Gianni La Bella.
    Quería felicitarte por el trabajo que realizas, es importante y lo haces con mucha profesionalidad.

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