Museo de los Santos started as a joint project of Dr. José Torres Melendez, MD,PhD.(Collector/Curator) and Richard Holm, MBA (Caribbean Consulting) to promote the appreciation, understanding and preservation of Santos and the history of Santeros in Puerto Rico.
When Richard moved to San Juan in 1999, he saw José's collection and was surprised that information on Santos was difficult to find in English which would be accessible to tourists.
During Richard's first visit to the Puerto Rico Museum of Art (MAPR) - he only noticed three santos on display - so he decided to create an online 'virtual museum' where people could learn about the traditional 'household saints' at www.museodelossantos.com.
When the website was created, the small collection was housed in the offices of Caribbean Consulting and available by appointment only.
Over the next decade, the collection grew to more than 400 santos and thousands of people visited individually or participated in events such as the opening ceremonies for FERINART biennial artisans festival, conferences, seminars, receptions and even weddings.
In 2019 we initiated an AirBnb Experience - Monday Night Only: Museum + Bomba Tour to encourage tourists to visit the museum and then visit nearby La Terraza de Bonanza for their weekly Bomba y Plena night.
We have now outgrown our current space and its time to establish a permanent Museo de los Santos.
To achieve this, Museo de los Santos Inc. was established as a non-profit corporation and granted 501(c)(3) tax exempt status by the IRS and designated as a PR 1101.01 non-profit corporation by Hacienda de Puerto Rico. Our website is now www.museodelossantos.org.
A building has been acquired for a permanent museum at 1673 Ave. Ponce de Leon, San Juan with the help of a private ’bridge loan’ which must be repaid by 2022.
Vision: The new building will provide 3,100 square feet in a multi-level space:
- Secure, climate-controlled area for our permanent collection of more than 400 Santos.
- 1,000 square foot exhibition/event space.
- 1,000 square foot conference/performance space.
- Mini-theater, research Library, café/catering kitchen, museum shop.
Our vision is to establish an independent, self-sustaining museum, research institute, exhibition space & community center that welcomes government assistance but is self-sustaining over time.