The R.P. Gustavo Le Paige s.j. Institute of Archeological Research and Museum was created in 1984 in order to give continuity to the important legacy of the Belgian priest Gustavo Le Paige in San Pedro de Atacama, the impact of which has transcended national borders. In order to achieve this, the Institute has strengthened both research and teaching, increasing and disseminating the body of knowledge in the fields of archeology and anthropology built up by Le Paige in the 1950s. Currently, this unit is in charge of teaching on the Master’s and Doctoral Programs in Anthropology.
The Museum itself is a depository and guardian of archeological and ethnographic collections gathered by Father Le Paige after he settled in San Pedro de Atacama in 1955 through his pastoral work and studies and his search for traces of the history of the Atacameño people. In 1957, Le Paige, together with his associates, founded the first museum in the Parish House in San Pedro. In 1963, with the support of the Universidad del Norte, the first pavilion of what is now the museum was opened at the San Pedro de Atacama Center.
Other investigators such as Lautaro Núñez (winner of the National Award for History) and Agustín Llagostera have built on the work of Father Le Paige, and today the museum’s facilities are appropriately designed in harmony with their surroundings. The Institute offers the following Postgraduate programs: • Doctorate in Anthropology – San Pedro de Atacama • Masters in Anthropology – San Pedro de Atacama