January 2017 Edition

Volcan Museum.
Saving the past for the future.


By David Dell

January 2017

The modern city of Volcan is less than a hundred years old, but its history certainly extends back more than 2,000 years. One of the ardent keepers of the history of this great town is a retired Panamanian Police Detective, Abdiel Torres. Together with a number of history buffs he has turned part of his home into a small museum.

It is hoped that the museum may move into a much larger facility and become part of the new proposed city center.

This section of petrified wood has been dated as older than 1,000 years. This may have been due to the intense heat generated during the not too infrequent eruptions of the nearby volcano.

1943 was the date that this mainly wooden cash register was used. Today,Volcan can boast at least 14 large and small supermarkets.

The youth of today maybe cannot imagine a time when there was no Internet or cellular phones. In 1950 this radio transmitter could reach the United States and possibly the entire world. Communications devices have become smaller but not always that far ranging and reliable.

Museum Curator Abdiel Torres

Spherical stone balls are a great enigma in Central America. In Costa Rica they are found as large as a metre. This smaller one came from the local farm of Carmen Guardia

Pre-columbian pots come in all shapes, sizes and colours.These are firm evidence that the Volcan area has had human habitation for many thousands of years.


This JVC DV camera was used in the original filming of Panama for INTERNATIONAL LIVING in 1998. In particular it highlighted the city of Boquete as a great retirement destination. Sam Talliaferro's VALLE ESCONDIDO project was the flagship that raised international awareness of Panama's potential. This camera later filmed Valle Escondido's and LAS OLAS resort's  first video promo.

Sadly, while filming a turtle release at Las Olas a rogue wave swamped the camera and its useful life was over.

Agriculture needs water and frequently water has to be pumped from beneath the ground. This hand cranked pump made in the USA dates from 1901.

"WILD BILL" memorabillia. The museum has some unique artifacts relating to the alleged infamous mass murderer, William Dathan Holden. 

The bottle of Bill's favourite drink, Seco and this copy of the Bocas Breeze were recovered from the house where he fled as a fugitive. The bottle may be the last drink he had before going on the run. The article in the Bocas Breeze states that the FBI were investigating several disappearances. It was most probably this article in this actual magazine that caused him and his girl friend to flee Panama.

The copy of a "fake" Dutch passport was the first direct evidence against Holden. This copy was discovered in Volcan and circulated to the FBI, Interpol and Dutch police. 

The first foreign settlers in Panama came from Spain, they brought with them modern weapons of war. This is a wheel from a Spanish canon.

The three main supporters of the museum are Left to right, local artisan, Arte Cruz, Senora Maricel Gonzalez and finally Abdiel Torres. They are holding a book which tells the history of this area from the time of the first Spanish settlers.

The museum does not charge for admission but donations are always welcome.

please call this number: 6839-3574

and find out when is a good time to visit.