Set in a building that was once the Gran Hotel and later the French canal headquarters, this museum is a prime stop for Panama City visitors. The history of the isthmus of Panama is covered from pre-Columbian times to the arrival of the Spanish and up through the long and storied construction of the canal. The museum contains important historical documents and artifacts, like the 1977 Carter-Torrijos treaty, a register of the U.S. Senate votes approving the canal, and the famed Nicaraguan stamp of an erupting volcano that was sent to deter said senators from choosing Nicaragua for the construction. You'll need at least a few hours to see all the interactive exhibits, but you'll gain a thorough understanding of why the canal is arguably the physical center of all world trade. Displays are in both Spanish and English, and there are also bilingual tours available from on-site guides.