There are about 130 libraries located throughout the country, of which the library of the University of Santo Domingo is the most important, with over 105,000 volumes. The National Library, founded in Santo Domingo in 1970, had a collection of over 154,000 volumes in 2002. In general, public library collections are few and small, mostly containing only a few hundred books. Exceptions are the public library in Santo Domingo, with holdings of about 35,000 volumes, and in Baní with 38,000 volumes.
All of the leading museums are in and around Santo Domingo. The Museum of Dominican Man (formerly the National Museum) houses 19,000 pre-Columbian, colonial, and contemporary exhibits relating to the country's history. The Gallery of Modern Art promotes the music, painting, sculpture, and poetry of both Dominican and foreign artists and writers. A new complex at the Plaza of Culture houses several museums, the National Library, and the National Theater. The Alcázar de Colón is the 16th-century home of the Columbus family; the reputed tomb of Christopher Columbus is in the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor. The Zoological and Botanical garden in Santo Domingo is unique because of its natural setting and grottoes. Ponce de Leon's fort was declared a historic site in 1972 and is maintained as a museum.