The museum is located at the house that used to belong to journalist Ismael Perez Pazmiño, founder of El Universo newspaper, who named the villa as Rosa Herlinda, in honor of his wife.
The design and construction of the Museum belongs to Spanish architect Joaquin Pereznin de Cardona. It was built between 1936 and 1940 and inaugurated in 1941.
At the end of 1970, the mansion was owned by several financial institutions until 1978 when it was transformed into the archeological museum of the Pacific Bank, which acquired 8.000 cultural pieces that year. In 2003 the Central Bank took charge of the museum starting a restoration process that turned it into a museographic and cultural center.
Currently, this heritage property serves as headquarters for the Presley Norton Museum that was inaugurated in 2007 and whose name pays tribute to the investigative work of archeologist Presley Norton Yoder (1932 – 1993), who donated his findings that comprise objects related to the life and magical traditions of the aborigines of the coast.
Norton discovered a large archeological reserve in 1970 in Salango, place where he established a museum. The exhibition forms part of a collection of objects gathered by Norton and Leonor Perez. His legacy also includes jewelry and ornaments that bear testimony of the development of metallurgy in the aborigine peoples of the coast.
The museum has a valuable archeological collection from the coastal region, mainly from the cultures Valdivia (400 BC -1500 BC) and Machalilla (1500 BC – 800 BC). The exhibition comprises 8.000 cultural pieces that dazzle for their beauty and aesthetic quality.
Regarding the building, it presents a nice stylistic mixture of wood and concrete, which evokes the classic Spanish architecture.
The design has an upper gallery that leads to the bedrooms of the old residence, which keeps a valuable fine crystal lamp. The refined finishes of the ceilings and the moldings of the columns and walls can be appreciated.
Services: the Museum has an audiovisual room that presents the collection in a cinematic form explaining briefly the history of the Pre-Hispanic cultures of the country. It also offers a souvenir shop and a cyber café for the tourists.