125 Museos
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Franciscan convent founded in 1528. Here Fray Bernardino de Sahagún (the great Nahua scholar) worked. The museum shows samples of his life and work, as well as pre-Hispanic development from earliest times and a collection of religious art of New Spain.


Sitio histórico
Restored in 2012, this site museum has exhibits of Olmec, Totonac and Huastec artefacts made from obsidian, stone and ceramic, as well as a collection of sixteenth-century European weapons, while also providing a military history of the mighty fort of San Juan de Ulúa.

The fort of San Juan de Ulúa is an iconic and historic monument of the city of Veracruz: it was in this same area that European and indigenous American cultures began to interact in earnest. The building is considered one of the finest examples of military construction, due to an architectural typology and design that, at the time of its construction, incorporated the latest principles and knowledge of defensive structures.

On the islet of Tecpan Tlayácac—“nose or protrusion of the Land of the Palace”—a shrine was built to honor the god Tezcatlipoca (“smoking mirror”), a Mexica deity and warrior god of darkness. On June 24, 1518—the day of Saint John the Baptist—a Spanish expeditionary force under the command of Juan de Grijalva arrived at this islet to find a temple constructed by the inhabitants of Culúa, hence the name San Juan de Ulúa. The encounter with these inhabitants marked one of the earliest interactions between the two worlds. In 1519, Hernán Cortés reached the coast of Veracruz and began setting up camp opposite the islet. He also founded the settlement of Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz on April 21 of that same year, establishing the first “cabildo” or town council in mainland North America. This site, therefore, marks the spot where the Conquest of Mexico began.

In 1535, New Spain’s first viceroy, Don Antonio de Mendoza, brought with him authorization from Charles I to begin building the port and its defensive constructions on the islet of San Juan de Ulúa. The earliest structures consisted of a wall with mooring rings for attaching the ships and protecting them from the strong northern winds, as well as a tower the height of a man. In 1568 the pirates John Hawkins and Francis Drake arrived at the port of Ulúa from the Caribbean; they entered the bay opposite the islet and moored their vessels, weighed down with the treasures looted from the Caribbean ports.

At the order of Spanish monarch Philip II, in 1590 work began on the design and construction of the “Indian” or Caribbean system of defenses, including San Juan de Ulúa. From that point on, the fort’s typology would be transformed until it became a permanent fortification, an irregularly shaped bastion, which was initially used as a port during the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth century, while also a defense for the city of Veracruz, a customs building, a warehouse, and the only dock authorized by the Spanish crown for port activities.

In the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century, the facilities were used as the country’s arsenal and penitentiary—its location and architecture were ideally suited for a jail. On July 2, 1915, the president at the time, Venustiano Carranza, decreed that the fort should no longer be used as a prison, though it still remained in the hands of the Ministry of War and the Navy. It was only in 1961 that a presidential order was signed to entrust the building to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), and over time the fort became one of Mexico’s most historic landmarks open to the public.

A project was launched in 1980 to restore the fort, and this long-term program has gradually borne fruit; 2012 saw the completion of one of the most important phases: the restoration of the Plaza de Armas and the opening of the new site museum in the building known as the Casa del Gobernador, located on the Plaza’s eastern side.

The San Juan de Ulúa site museum has a display of the state of Veracruz’s most important collections of archeological and historical artefacts. The exhibition design has two themes: the Gulf of Mexico area’s archeology, and the history of the fort of San Juan de Ulúa itself. In the archeological exhibition space, the “Gulf Cultures” section consists of a permanent collection of 266 pre-Hispanic items revealing 3,000 years of cultural development of ancient civilizations, from the Olmecs to the Totonacs and the Huastecs. Displays include obsidian and ceramic exhibits, as well as parts of a ballgame court.

The museum describes the fate of the iconic military construction, from the arrival of the Spaniards in 1518, led by Juan Grijalva, to the islet’s transformation for the fort’s construction and the raids launched by pirates on the port of Veracruz during the vice-regal period. Also open to visitors are the cells, corridors, dungeons and courtyards; there is also a collection of sixteenth to nineteenth-century weapons, including suits of armor and a mooring ring.


A New York architect who settled in Taxco in 1929, Spratling decided to make pre-Hispanic designs in the silver of the region and to train local artisans as silversmiths. He also collected many beautiful pieces of pre-Hispanic art – originals and reproductions – exhibited in the museum.


Sitio histórico
In what was once Allende’s house and that of his parents – a wealthy family at the end of the Viceroy era. Through original objects, loans from important national museums and modern resources, this museum presents a broad biographical sketch of the hero and the circumstances of the War of Independence.


Sitio histórico
Don Miguel Hidalgo’s house in San Felipe Torres Mochas, built between 1793 and 1803, where he was parish priest both for the Indians and the Spaniards. The museum reviews the life of the national hero, where he entertained friends and neighbours with works by Molière, and freely discussed the topics of the moment: the French Revolution, the ideas of the Enlightenment, Napoleon.


Sitio histórico
One of the best restored and preserved ancient fortresses in Mexico holds the history of the port of Acapulco: its original population, the age of sail, the Manila Galleons, the first trade with China, the missionary expeditions, attacks by pirates, and the siege in the War of Independence.

An overview of the rich history of Acapulco in the emblematic San Diego Fortress. It is the most important historical monument in the port of Acapulco, unique in Mexico due to the classic “star” design of Marquis de Vauban, military architect to Louis XIV, and is typical of Spanish forts after the enthronement of the Bourbons following the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1715). With its singular geometric design in the shape of a pentagon or five-pointed star, the building fulfilled the Spanish crown’s policy to maintain a defensive structure for its possessions on the Pacific coast. The fort was intended to protect the galleons which landed in Acapulco at the end of their “return trip” journey from Manila, carrying valuable goods from China (silk, porcelain, brocade) and other places in the East. This trade lasted for 250 years.

Since 1986, thanks to joint work between the INAH, the National and State “Adopt a Work of Art” Boards, and the Association of Friends of the Fuerte de San Diego, this huge building has housed the Acapulco History Museum. With 14 permanent exhibition galleries and one temporary exhibition space, it provides the people of Guerrero and of Mexico in general with an overview of their history. It offers visitors a summary of the evolution of the port: the first settlers, the conquest of the Southern Seas (the Pacific Ocean), trade with the East, pirates, the spread of the Christian faith and the War of Independence. The independence leader José María Morelos y Pavón, following the struggle to capture the site (he lay siege to the fort for two years and seven months, between 1811 and 1813), authorized a banquet in the Fort of San Diego, and in the kitchen and dining hall he raised the toast: “Long live Spain, yes, but a sister Spain and not one that dominates America!”

The pieces on show are both archeological (from Guerrero’s Mezcala culture) and historical in character. They belong to the museum’s own collection and are enriched with objects loaned from other institutions, such as the National History Museum and the National Museum of the Viceroyalty, as well as with personal items, such as the valuable collection of antiques dealer Rodrigo Rivero Lake.

One noteworthy object in the museum is an opulent carriage known as the “royal carriage,” as well as some figureheads from the eighteenth century, a large Chinese porcelain jar also from the eighteenth century, as well as silk and embroidery, an old silk kimono and Chinese coins from ancient dynasties, to mention but a few. Among the most important and iconic objects exhibited in the museum is the galleon San Pedro de Cardeña. It is a European model from the eighteenth century, made of wood, metal, fabric and tin thread, both assembled and carved, colored brown, black, ochre and gold and measures 90 inches in height, 100 inches in length and 109 inches in width. In the absence of technical drawings, miniatures like this were built to construct the galleons.

Collections of Chinese porcelain from different periods also play an important role. These are mainly from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and some is from the Qing dynasty. There are also plates, platters and china cups from the Indies Companies, a generic name by which all original porcelain from the Far East is recognized, manufactured in China since ancient times. Huge quantities of this very fine crockery arrived in Mexico thanks to the Manila Galleon.

The Fuerte de San Diego is the most important maritime fortresses on Mexico’s Pacific coast. It is located in a reef, in the current district of Petaquillas. Its construction in 1616 was overseen by the engineer Adrián Boot, of Dutch origin (from then Spanish Flanders). He gave it the name of San Diego in honor of the patron saint of the 13th Viceroy of New Spain (1612-1621), Diego Fernández de Córdoba, Marquis of Guadalcázar. The bastions around the wall were given the names “King,” “Prince,” “Duke,” “Marquis,” and “Guadalcázar.” In 1776 to 1778, following a strong earthquake which seriously damaged the port, it was renovated by the engineer Miguel Constanzó (based on the design of engineer Ramón Panón), who rebuilt the fortress with five bastions and surrounded by a moat. The reconstruction work was finished in 1783. It had room for two thousand soldiers with provisions and drinking water all year round, and was supplied with 63 long distance cannons. Later, it became a monastery, hospital and prison. In 1933, President Abelardo Rodríguez declared it to be a national monument, in 1959 it hosted the Worldwide Cinema Review and from April 24, 1986, it has been the headquarters of the Acapulco History Museum.


Sitio histórico
An 18th century country house where don José María Morelos lived during the siege of Cuautla in 1812. It contains objects and explanations of local and regional history since pre-Hispanic times up to the Zapatista uprising, with emphasis on Morelos and Emiliano Zapata.


Sitio histórico
Don Miguel Hidalgo’s last home, which he left in order to lead the first phase of the War of Independence. It contains the national hero’s personal objects, arms and documents of the time, reproductions of portraits, lithographs and books that belonged to him, in a carefully recreated atmosphere of the period.

As well as illustrating various sides to the life of Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, this building also tells the story of the events of the Mexican War of Independence. The museum is inside the great leader’s last residence prior to the outbreak of the liberation movement. The estate was built in 1779 to store contributions from the movement’s followers and is therefore known as “Casa del Diezmo” (“House of the Tithe”). It is part of the group of buildings of historical value which make up the ‘Ruta de la Independencia', and which were renovated by the INAH on the Bicentenary of this key event. Father Hidalgo lived there from 1803, and also used it for pottery workshops and a music school. He built theatre stages in it, moved the parish offices there and used the barn to guard the tithes.

A few of the conspiracy meetings were held here as well, with the aim of emancipating New Spain. The priest Hidalgo left this residence on September 16, 1810, with Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama, for the temple of Dolores to summon the town and begin armed fighting. A month later, general Callega (on the orders of viceroy Venegas) looted the residence and turned it into barracks for his troops. Throughout the war, it was occupied by various faction groups, and when Independence was won, it returned to the ownership of the church. This was until 1850, when it passed into private hands as a result of the Law for Nationalization of Ecclesiastical Goods. In 1863, president Benito Juárez declared it a National Monument, and the following year Maxmiliano of Habsburg celebrated the first “Ceremonia del Grito” (Ceremony of the Cry of Independence) in it from the window where father Hidalgo called the police on the night when he decided to begin the revolutionary movement. In January 1889, president Porfirio Díaz visited it and since then, all Mexican presidents have done the same.

Within the nine rooms of the museum, it is possible to learn about the various aspects of the life of Don Miguel Hidalgo: the parish priest, the theologian, the businessman of the town of Dolores, the member of a family of the time, the activist who participated in movements right up until the outbreak of the revolution and the central actor in the heroic deed. The museum’s discourse is based on the atmosphere of the era and around 80 pieces are exhibited from this tim. Among these, the leader’s original glasses alongside copies of the books which he used to read are given prominence. There is also a notary book in which his signature is printed, and his baptismal certificate which includes his given name: Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo y Costilla Gallage. The museum rooms are: Origin of the Congregation of Dolores, Background, Life of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Revolution of Minds (1765-1792), The ignition of the rebellion, Bedroom, War room, Dining room and kitchen, and Tribute room (Creation of the leader).

Replicas have also been made of paintings and prints relating to the Father of the Nation and to the Independence movement. These are in addition to historical pieces which have undergone preservation and restoration treatment in order to be exhibited again: religious sculptures, weapons, furniture and books from the 18th century. Other pieces exhibited are replicas of daily objects which craftsmen from the region would have been ordered to make purposely, in line with 18th century style. Particularly special among these are the dining crockery and a large lantern found in the hallway, where the museum visit begins.


The 1886 Ensenada military barracks (later to become a jail and then a training hospital) houses the regional history museum showing: Baja Californian life, landscapes and culture from their remote origins until the military revolt of 1885. The collection includes early remains as well as memorable photographs from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.Opened in 1995, it is housed in the oldest public building in Ensenada, dating from 1886 and built with adobe brick and stone. Originally, this historic monument was a military barracks. Later, it functioned as a court, a sub-prefecture, a municipal jail, simultaneously a school and a hospital, and a Marine Corps headquarters. The museum, managed by the INAH, presents different themes from the life, landscape, culture and history of Baja California, from paleontological remains and the first settlers to the mutiny of the 21st Battalion in this very building (the garrison revolted on January 10, 1885, following an extended period without pay). It has six galleries: Paleontology, Paleo-Indians, Archaic, Late Prehistory, Native Peoples of Baja California and the Missionary Era of Baja California. It also has an area for temporary exhibitions and a courtyard for cultural events. The collection exhibits fossils that are millions of years old, as well as artifacts made of stone, bone and shell by the ancient settlers of the peninsula, together with handmade crafts by their descendants.

The building’s facade has preserved the turrets with embrasures and battlements in the upper part of the building, adorned with cannonballs. Inside the hall on the left-hand side, visitors can walk through the old barracks and admire an anonymous mural dating from the start of the twentieth century that shows the foundation of Tenochtitlan set in the Bay of Ensenada. The barracks were turned into cells, with guard houses flanking this space. The large entrances to the museum’s galleries in the right-hand wing of the building were big enough for men on horses to pass through. The oral tradition tells us that the back wall was used for executions at the time when the enclosure was a court and prison.c


Sitio arqueológico
A contemporary architectural project, respecting the natural setting, this museum was inaugurated recently and houses one of the most considerable collections of Maya art in the country, with local pieces as well as from other states, incorporated into the San Miguelito archeological zone.The Cancun Maya Museum is one of the most important museum projects of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) since the opening of the National Museum of Anthropology in 1964 and the Templo Mayor Museum in 1987. It conserves one of the country’s most significant archeological collections of Mayan culture, with the most outstanding pieces belonging to the State of Quintana Roo, as well a selection of emblematic objects from a number of Mayan sites including Palenque, Chichen Itza and Comalcalco.

The story of this museum project has not been without setbacks. Cancun’s first archeological museum was originally located adjacent to the city’s Convention Center. It was opened in 1982 with the aim of making the culture of the pre-Hispanic Maya in the north of the state of Quintana Roo better known to local, national and foreign visitors. Nevertheless the small museum had to close in September 1988 after a severe battering from hurricane Gilberto. It reopened in July 1994 but the next hurricanes to ravage the coast of Quintana Roo damaged the museum again and forced the permanent closure of the old building in 2004.

The new Cancun Maya Museum opened six years later, fitting in harmoniously with the pre-Hispanic structures and landscape of the San Miguelito archeological site (1250-1550), which opened to the public at the same time as the museum. The full 20-acre complex was inaugurated on November 2, 2012.

The new museum building, designed by Mexican architect Alberto García Lascurain, is cutting edge and deeply respectful of its environs. The core elements of this building are expressed in the same architectural language, which emphasizes a linear design with concrete screening walls. Outdoor areas let visitors enjoy the Cancun climate and despite the extensive open surfaces, it retains a protected feeling with the pergolas over the paths and walkways. The entrance to the museum is overlooked by a sculptural group by Dutch artist Jan Hendrix, which represents the region’s environment with its leaves, trees and forest above a reflecting pool of water.

There are three pavilions that provide ceiling heights of 26 feet for the exhibition spaces. The museum galleries are held within the walls which also define the surrounding walkways, and have covered spaces with hurricane-proof glass, offering magnificent views of the dense trees of the San Miguelito archeological site and the Nichupté Lagoon. Access to the gallery spaces is via ramps, one spiral, the other straight, located at the each end of the galleries. There are also two panoramic elevators.

A museum visit includes access to the San Miguelito archeological site, making the complete tour very satisfactory for visitors.


Mexico’s most emblematic museum, and one of the world’s finest, contains an astoundingly rich archeological collection from the country’s numerous indigenous communities. A truly priceless treasure.


The former residence of viceroys, presidents and an emperor, Chapultepec Castle was the site of a major encounter during the Mexican-American war of 1847, and contains a splendid collection of historical artifacts.

Chapultepec Castle is a magnificent late-eighteenth century construction (1785-1787) designed and built as a stately home at the behest of the Viceroy of New Spain at the time, Bernardo de Gálvez. Over the years, however, the building has been adapted several times for different uses. It was the headquarters of Mexico’s military academy, the site of battles fought during the US invasion, residence of Emperor Maximilian and Empress Carlota, and of a number of Mexican presidents. President Lázaro Cárdenas eventually issued a presidential decree in 1939 for the Castle to be used as a museum housing the collections and personal effects of Mexico’s leading historical figures. The building, standing at the highest point of Chapultepec Park, opened its doors as a museum in September 1944.

The National Museum of History—undoubtedly one of the most important exhibition spaces in Mexico—offers visitors a comprehensive view of national history, from the Conquest and the founding of New Spain until the dawn of the twentieth century. On display are more than 65,000 objects including paintings, sculptures, furniture, clothing, coins, musical instruments, silver and ceramic utensils, flags, carriages, and documents.

In the former military academy the galleries’ exhibits date from the time of the Conquest until the 1910 Revolution. Visitors to this part of the museum can also admire mural paintings created by leading artists between 1933 and 1970, notably Jorge González Camarena’s “La fusión de dos culturas” (“Fusion of Two Cultures”) and “La Constitución de 1917” (“1917 Constitution”); Juan O’Gorman’s “El retablo de la Independencia” (“Independence Altarpiece”), “El feudalismo porfirista” (“Porfirian Feudalism”) and “Sufragio Efectivo, no Reelección” (“Effective Suffrage, No Reelection”); José Clemente Orozco’s "La Reforma" (“The Reform”) and "La caída del Imperio" (“The Fall of the Empire”), and Siqueiros’s “Del Porfirismo a la Revolución” (“From the Dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz to the Revolution”).

The ground-floor rooms in the building known as the Alcázar (“Fortress”) are decorated with furniture, domestic items, jewelry, paintings and various objects related mainly to the imperial era of Maximilian and Carlota, while the top floor contains the furniture, paintings and other belongings of President Porfirio Díaz and his wife Carmen Romero Rubio.

Chapultepec Hill and the Chapultepec Castle’s National Museum of History have their own history. In pre-Hispanic times, Moctezuma had his pools and baths here, as well as a shrine and living quarters; it is also known that Moctezuma I ordered the construction of the aqueduct to carry water from Chapultepec to Mexico-Tenochtitlan, and that Nezahualcóyotl, Lord of Texcoco, was responsible for the actual building work.

Construction on this hilltop took place between 1785 and 1787; the residence was commissioned by Viceroy Bernardo de Gálvez, who died before seeing it completed. Due to the building’s exorbitant cost, the Spanish crown tried to sell it but there were no buyers and it fell into disuse.

The Mexico City government acquired the property in 1806, but at the outbreak of the War of Independence it did not make any further use of it. It was not until 1833 that a decree was issued for it to be converted into a military academy and, after a period of alterations, it began to operate as such in 1844. On September 12 and 13, 1847, it resisted bombardment from the US army, which nevertheless caused it serious damage. After its reconstruction, the military academy reopened and Miguel Miramón, a former pupil and survivor of the Battle of Chapultepec in 1847, ordered the construction of some rooms on the second floor of the Alcázar. However, its current appearance dates from the time when Maximilian and Carlota decided to make it their imperial residence, and their team of Austrian, French, Belgian, and Mexican architects transformed it. At the end of the Second Mexican Empire, the building was abandoned once again.

From 1878 to 1883 it briefly became an astronomical, meteorological and magnetic observatory, until the military academy returned, and the Castle itself was converted into a presidential residence, providing a home successively for Porfirio Díaz, Francisco I. Madero, Venustiano Carranza, Álvaro Obregón, Plutarco Elías Calles, Emilio Portes Gil, Pascual Ortiz Rubio and Abelardo Rodríguez. On February 3, 1939, it was declared the National Museum of History, and was inaugurated on September 27, 1944.


A range of magnificent exhibits representing numerous countries which have friendly relations with Mexico, displayed in one of the most sumptuous buildings of the vice-regal period.

This is one of INAH’s five national museums, and the only one in Mexico with exhibits chosen not so much for their beauty or historical significance, but to showcase different lifestyles, values, customs and beliefs to help visitors understand the world’s cultural diversity. The collection is housed in a historic monument that dates back to 1570; the building was formerly the Casa de Moneda (Mexico’s national mint) at the heart of the country’s capital. In 1825, President Guadalupe Victoria, on the advice of Lucas Alemán, made arrangements for the site to be turned into the National Museum. Subsequently, Maximilian of Habsburg gave the instruction for the same building to be used to display artifacts and collections representing Mexico’s pre-Hispanic past and natural history. During the rule of Benito Juárez this construction was the Supreme Court of Justice and it has also been an archeological, ethnographic and historical research center.

The museum’s important collections provided the seed for other important Mexican museums, such as the Museum of Natural History in the Chopo building, the National Museum of History in Chapultepec Castle, and the National Museum of Anthropology. Established as the National Museum of Cultures in 1965, this magnificent building holds around 14,000 objects—such as textiles, glass, ceramic and porcelain figures; photographs, suits of armor, kimonos, masks, jewelry, weapons and Greek and Roman sculptures—from almost every country and representing different eras. As a result of Mexico’s international policy of cultivating relations with friendly nations, the various exhibits have been donated or loaned to the museum. Many of them are original and in some cases of very ancient provenance, while others are superbly crafted replicas.

This extraordinary collection is displayed in 16 galleries, designed to give a presence to the world’s different regions and respective themes, including the Pacific Rim countries of the Americas: Oceania and East and South-East Asia; Mediterranean cultures; the Middle East; Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China; Korea and Japan. Another completely renovated space is used for temporary exhibits of collections from the world’s leading museums. Oaxacan painter Rufino Tamayo’s “Revolución” mural (1938) is particularly impressive: it covers 80 square meters and frames the entrance to the Pedro Bosch Gimpera Library.


This sixteenth-century religious building, the scene of the battles of the Mexican-American War of 1847, contains displays and explanations of Mexico’s complex nineteenth-century history and its conflicts with Spain, France, and the United States. Exhibits include pre-Hispanic artefacts from the time of Huitzilopochco’s rule and the early years of the vice-regal period.

Declared a national monument in 1869 by President Benito Juárez, the building opened its doors as the National Museum of Interventions on September 13, 1981. With its focus on the events that have helped forge Mexico’s national identity and current foreign policy, the museum is founded on two core principles: non-interventionism and the right of nations to self-determination.

The museum’s ten galleries provide visitors with clear explanations about the historical processes and armed interventions that took place in Mexico during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, principally the War of Independence, the Spanish Intervention of 1829, the French interventions of 1838-1839 (the “Pastry War”) and 1862-1867, and the US interventions of 1846-1848, 1914 and 1916.

Historical events are illustrated with graphics, paintings, lithographs, prints, photographs, maps, documents, bladed weapons and firearms (canons, rifles, pistols, bullets, sabers, swords, mallets, machetes), flags and uniforms, medals and insignia, sculptures, jewelry, ceramics, and furniture. Of particular interest is the partition screen depicting Mexico’s battle against the French on May 5, 1862, painted by Miguel Zetina in 1872, and Carl Nebel’s lithographs portraying the US-Mexico War from the perspective of the interests of Mexico’s northern neighbor.

The museum also boasts magnificent examples of seventeenth and eighteenth-century religious art, and since November 1999 a permanent exhibition has given visitors the chance to see some of the most impressive objects from this important collection. Subsequently, in April 2002, the Ex Convento de Churubusco’s kitchens were opened to the public, and April 2006 saw the inauguration of the Don Gastón García Cantú multi-purpose hall and the “Catalejo de la Historia” reference library for those curious to learn more about Mexican history through books, leaflets, videos and audio recordings. Other areas in this former monastery now open to the public include the washrooms and refectory—where two archeological niches are on view, as well as the original seventeenth-century floors, wash basins and two internal spaces.

The Ex Convento de Churubusco is a building that lies at the intersection of three emblematic periods: the pre-Hispanic rule of Huitzilopochco—known today as Churubusco; the era of the Convento de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, construction of which began with the arrival of the Franciscans in 1524; and the military fortress constructed in the monastery in an effort to prevent the advance of US troops during the military intervention of 1847.


The finest examples of the visual arts from New Spain over the three centuries of its existence, exhibited in a splendid building from this period: the Jesuit College in Tepotzotlán, which provides a brilliant, detailed journey through the viceregal period.This museum displays different aspects of colonial culture, as well as the culture of the original occupants of the building it is installed in. The venue is the former Jesuit College of San Francisco Javier (Saint Francis Xavier) in Tepotzotlán, in what is now the State of Mexico. It opened on September 19, 1964, with the aim of offering an extensive overview of life under Spanish rule, as there was no museum in Mexico at the time which covered the 300 years this period lasted (1521-1821). The building itself is a marvel. Thoroughly restored, it preserves the original premises, which were built and decorated between 1606 and 1767. It includes the church with its vestry and chapel; two two-story cloisters, that of Aljibes (Wells) and Naranjos (Orange Trees), with their respective cells; the domestic chapel (of Saint Peter the Apostle), the library, the refectory and the kitchen. Teachers, students and college workers lived, studied, prayed and rested here. The building is encircled by its atrium and orchard. Adjoining the Aljibes Cloister was the guest courtyard and its stables. The cloister obliged potential guests to lodge in this zone because it was outside the restricted area. Currently, this place operates as the College’s restaurant and lodging house.

Passing through each of these spaces, some of which are decorated as they might have been in the times Jesuit novices were here, offers visitors a view of the daily lives of the people who inhabited them, as well as the opportunity to appreciate the splendid examples of baroque art found here.

The National Museum of the Vice-Regal Period ranges in time from the background to the Conquest of Mexico in 1519-1521 to the first causes of social unrest that led to the Independence movement of 1810. It consists of 22 rooms located in both the lower part of the Aljibes Cloister and the upper part of the Naranjos Cloister, and displays objects as diverse as paintings, sculpture, pottery and textiles. It also deals with female convent life in the vice-regal period, with a collection of more than 20 portraits of crowned nuns. Due to the number of portraits and their artistic and historical relevance, this is the most important one of its kind in Latin America. It also addresses the arts and crafts of New Spain, as well as the commercial and cultural exchange it held with the Orient, with its collections of ivory, porcelain, marquetry and “enconchados” (oil paintings inlaid with mother-of-pearl).

Visiting the church of San Francisco Javier is a must. It is one of the few baroque churches in Mexico that still preserves its originally characteristics. The altarpieces were designed and created by Miguel Cabrera e Higinio de Chávez in the mid-eighteenth century.

The Jesuits began to build their San Francisco Javier monastery and college of Tepotzotlán in 1606. They intended to open one school for indigenous children, another for Society of Jesus novices and one more so that novices and already-ordained Jesuits could learn the indigenous languages of New Spain. The church of San Francisco Javier was built between 1670 and 1682. Charles III of Spain “and the Spanish Indies” expelled the Jesuits from his empire in 1767, which was much lamented by many inhabitants of New Spain. The Jesuit foundation of Tepotzotlán was left totally abandoned for eight years, until the Archbishop of Mexico gave it to the secular clergy, who turned into a retreat for elderly and infirm priests, and a place of penitence for censured priests. Pope Clement XIV abolished the Society of Jesus in 1773 to curry favor with the three kings who had expelled the Jesuits from their realms (Portugal, France and Spain). When it was reestablished by Pope Pius VII in 1814, some Jesuits came back years later (possibly in 1819). A few old men of the many who had been expelled returned to New Spain and Tepotzotlán.

Owing to the Reform Laws, the College became national property in 1859, although mass was still held in the church of San Francisco Javier. There were attempts to convert the premises into a jail, but the local community would not allow it. Later on, President Porfirio Díaz considered turning the structure into a jail as well, also without success. The school for children, on the other hand, remained. During the Mexican Revolution, the pro-Carranza (and subsequently anti-Carranza) General Francisco Coss Ramos took a dislike to the teachers of Tepotzotlán, especially to Father Gonzalo Carrasco, the dean. As the dean was also a painter, the general ordered him to paint a portrait of Venustiano Carranza and told him and his colleagues to take off their religious habit. The teacher refused, so the general sent him to the Teoloyucan jail whilst he and his soldiers sacked the school and the former monastery. The Jesuits abandoned Tepotzotlán once again. From time to time, rumors arose that there was treasure buried on the premises. The floor was opened and excavations were made in the church and other parts of the building to search for it in 1928, 1931, 1932 and 1934, without anything ever being found, although some damage was done to the architecture.

The Jesuit churches and other structures of Tepotzotlán were declared a national monument in 1933. Systematic restoration work was eventually begun by the INAH in 1964, with the splendid results that President Adolfo López Mateos inaugurated in 1964. The valuable collection that the new National Museum of the Vice-Regal Period was then provided with came from the Metropolitan Cathedral’s Museum of Religious Art, the National History Museum, and donations from private collectors.


Among the many stately homes of the Viceroyalty in Mexico is this home of the chief Conquistador, Hernán Cortés, in the capital of his vast domain. The history of the State of Morelos from the pre-Hispanic past up to the Revolution is shown through a varied collection of valuable objects and eloquent remains.The building itself, as well as the heritage within it, describe the history of the state of Morelos from the Preclassic period to the Revolution. The Cuauhnáhuac Regional Museum occupies the imposing Palace of Cortés, one of the oldest government buildings preserved in Mexico (the first stage of its construction was completed in 1535).

An iconic monument in the city of Cuernavaca, Hernán Cortés had it built as a family residence and seat of the Marquisate of the Valley of Oaxaca. It has been put to different uses over the years, including that of jail and seat of the state government, until February 2, 1974, when it was converted into a museum and cultural center. Its interior preserves an important collection of paleontological, archeological, historical and artistic pieces. The rooms on the first floor are dedicated to the different periods of the pre-Hispanic past, while on the second floor we can appreciate the course of history from the arrival of the Spanish until the present day.

First floor: Rooms 1 and 2. Migration routes, the first inhabitants. Room 3. Chalcatzingo, the Olmecs. Room 4. The influence of Teotihuacan on the Classic period. Room 5. Xochicalco. Room 6. Pictographic writing, Tetecala, cave paintings. Room 7. Tepoztlán. Room 8. Tlahuica domains. Room 9. The Tlahuica and the Mexican conquest. Room 10. The Conquest.

Second floor: Room 1. Contributions of the Old World. Room 2. The encomienda, social and political power in New Spain. Room 3. The Marquisate. Room 4. Trade with the Orient. Room 5. Religious colonization and colonial painting. Room 6. Religious expansion in Morelos. Room 7. The textile industry. Room 8. The War of Independence and formation of the Republic. Room 9. The Porfiriato. Room 10. The Revolution and ethnography of Morelos.

There is an important mural by Diego Rivera in the second-floor terrace gallery.


A modern building houses some thousand-year old remains of human life in the state. The museum shows the geology of the peninsula, fossils, its unique natural environment, the life of early settlers and their extraordinary cave paintings, the Jesuit Missions, and ethnology.The museum opened in March 1981 in the historical center of La Paz, with the aim of preserving and exhibiting the cultural heritage of Southern Baja California. The museum building was constructed in the twentieth century by the architect José Figueroa Vázquez, and houses an extraordinary collection which ranges from the remote past of Baja California Sur up until the time when it became a free and sovereign state.

The objects, finds, explanations and works of art exhibited here reflect universal values, such as the cave paintings of the Sierra de San Francisco, which are a World Heritage Site. The space also reflects the world view of a people who were forged in a desert peninsula, far from the main centers of population in Mexico, endowing them with a unique culture that endures to this day. Within the permanent galleries, this singularity is reflected in the careful curating and the museum displays, as well as the outstanding and fascinating paleontological, archeological, ethnographic and historical collections.


An international prize-winning building houses the rich archeology of the Maya and Zoque cultures of the state, over 3,500 years of history, including the time of the Spanish Conquistadors up to the Revolution. The exhibits include arms, convent life and daily life, fine architecture and important documents.The museum aims to promote the archeological, anthropological and historical heritage of Chiapas. It was reopened on its new site on September 14, 1984 in a building designed by the architect Juan Miramontes Nájera. This architectural project won first prize at the Third International Architecture Biennale held in Sofia, Bulgaria. The museum’s arrival at its definitive location marked a notable milestone in a long history, which began when it was founded in 1932.

The first Regional Archeology and History Museum of Chiapas came about through the efforts of professors Fernando Castañón, Marcos Enrique Becerra and Alberto Culebro, who organized the first collection of artifacts from Chiapas and deposited them for show in the state public library building, beside the Saint Mark’s Cathedral in the center of Tuxtla Gutiérrez. By the end of the 1930s, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) had come into existence and the museum became a branch of this new institution. Then in 1940 it transferred to the former home of Dr. Rafael Grajales in the center of Tuxtla. It was subsequently installed in the building known as the Palace of Culture, which today forms part of the University of Sciences and Arts of Chiapas, and in 1979 it moved to the new Parque Madero, where it was established in a building originally earmarked for the Botanical Institute.

The present-day Regional Museum of Chiapas has two large galleries. The first, Archeology, is located on the ground floor of the building, focusing on the pre-Hispanic period, beginning with the prehistoric period, the Preclassic period (2000 to 1000 BC), the Classic period (300 to 900 AD), which was the heyday of the Maya and Zoque peoples, and up to the Postclassic, when the great Mayan cities fell and the Soconusco was conquered by the Mexica people. This gallery reveals up close the beliefs, traditions and technologies that were part of the everyday life of the people who lived in Chiapas in ancient times.

The second gallery, History, is on the upper floor, and it covers the arrival of the Spanish in 1524, when the colonization of Chiapas began, passing through the Viceroyalty period, Mexican Independence, the Reform, the Porfiriato, up to the Mexican Revolution in the early years of the twentieth century. The displays include weapons, religious artifacts, key political documents of the state, paintings and everyday objects, as well as replicas of architectural details from religious buildings, such as the polychrome archway of the La Merced monastery in San Cristóbal de Las Casas and the Arab and Mudejar ajaracas from the monasteries of Tecpatán and Santo Domingo in Chiapa de Corzo.


Presents the capital city of Jalisco state and its long history in a splendid baroque setting. From the first settlers in the region to the most famous artists of the twentieth century, the daily life of contemporary ethnic groups, the "tiro" tombs (with air shafts), Western pre-history, and the highest forms of art from the vice-regal period.

The Regional Museum of Guadalajara can be found in the heart of the city, at number 60 Liceo Street. It is located in the former San José Tridentine Seminary, built towards the end of the eighteenth century, which stands out with its Baroque facade, central courtyard and beautiful staircase.

The building has seen a range of uses over time, including a prison and barracks during the Mexican War of Independence, and a boys’ high school at the end of the nineteenth century. In 1918, it was used for the first time as a museum, in 1939 it became part of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, and in 1976 it reopened with a new exhibition layout.

It presents both temporary and permanent, national and international, exhibits. Its collection is vast and comprises paleontological and archeological objects, a large art gallery and two collections, one historical and the other ethnographic. It is currently being redesigned in order to celebrate its centenary in 2018, for which a new outline and museography are being planned.

The San José Tridentine Seminary building is emblematic of the capital of Guadalajara. Its origins date back to 1743, when the bishop of Guadalajara, Juan Gómez de Parada, ordered its construction and by 1758 it was already in operation. The spacious and noble building, with its Baroque façade, occupies the block located immediately to the north-east of the Cathedral. It has a quadrangular floor and two levels. Isolated Tuscan-order columns are found in the main courtyard, surrounding the splendid cloisters. The main facade incorporates a niche with a sculpture of Saint Joseph, which is flanked by semi-circular pilasters whose shafts show coiling vines. A carving of Mexico’s National Eagle is found in the upper part, an emblem that was brought from the former University of Guadalajara in 1939. The second courtyard has a magnificent chapel with a single nave, an altar in the Neo-classical style and a small chancel with an entrance on the upper floor. 

Towards the end of 1810, the college felt the effects of the Independence movement initiated by Miguel Hidalgo. With the aim of using rebel troops, commanded by José Antonio “the Master” Torres, to occupy Guadalajara’s central square, it was employed as a barracks. Classes were suspended from November 26, 1810 to January 14, 1811, during which time Father Hidalgo stayed in the city. At some point it was also used as a prison for the Spaniards, who it is said were later killed. Subsequently, when Hidalgo left, the building was converted into a warehouse and military barracks for the royalist troops.
The museum originates from 1914-1915, when Professor Ixca Farías took an interest in preserving the surviving works and objects of artistic merit from the churches and convents of Guadalajara. After the Constitutionalist army entered Guadalajara (July 8, 1914), Ixca Farías recognized the need to gather the works of arts from the occupied churches and houses to avoid their destruction or loss. He recalled that people from the town removed books and missals from the Cathedral of Guadalajara and took them to their homes, but at that time he did not have any authority to prevent these actions.

In his role as inspector of works of art in Guadalajara, between 1917 and 1918 Ixca Farías carried out an inventory of the religious works and objects from the city’s churches, with the purpose of assembling them at a given time and in a space suitable for their preservation. This goal was achieved on November 10, 1918, with the establishment of the Museum of Fine Art, today the Regional Museum of Guadalajara. The collection was enriched within a few months with an important collection of coins donated by General Manuel M. Diéguez, as well as some banknotes issued by the Constitutionalist governments during the years 1915-1917.

During the long period spanning from 1916 to 1980, Ixca Farías and José Guadalupe Zuno were central figures who, as directors, gave the museum its identity as a cultural establishment. Farías promoted fine art and the preservation of representations of popular culture, including Indigenous groups. Zuno, as well as being one of the founders of the University of Guadalajara, was involved in the nationalist movement in the arts, promoting the work of modern artists from Jalisco. Among his publications, “The Visual Arts in Jalisco” and “Don José María Estrada, Father of the Independence of Mexican Painting” are of interest.


The site of an important battle in the War of Independence and a famous building from the vice-regal period, the museum presents the history of that conflict, the archeology and ethnology of the region, and the work of three of its leading artists: Hermenegildo Bustos and José Chávez Morado (painters), and Romualdo García (photographer).This museum pays tribute to the heroes of the Mexican Independence movement and is home to a collection that traverses different historical periods of the state of Guanajuato. Opened in June 1958, the Regional Museum of Guanajuato occupies a building that itself symbolizes the beginning of the Mexican fight for Independence: the Alhóndiga de Granaditas (“public granary”). An important battle was fought here on September 28, 1810. The construction of this impressive piece of Neoclassical architecture, which began in 1797 and finished in 1809, reflects the prosperity in Guanajuato at the end of the eighteenth century. The first design for this construction was prepared by master architect José Alejandro Durán y Villaseñor in 1796, and altered by José del Mazo y Avilés, Head of Architecture at the Academy of San Carlos, who was in charge of drawing up the final blueprints and directing the construction. Over time, the building had different uses: granary, penitentiary, jail, school and court, until it was finally converted into a museum.

The Heroes' Enclosure is a space which was specially designed in 1967 to pay permanent tribute to Miguel Hidalgo, José María Morelos y Pavón, Mariano Jiménez, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama and Vicente Guerrero.

Of particular note in the museum’s collection is a very extensive collection of pre-Hispanic seals, made mainly from clay and stone, which represent plants, flowers, animals, human beings, mythical beings and a wide variety of geometric shapes. Archeological pieces from different cultures are also exhibited, brought together over 25 years by the painters José Chávez Morado and Olga Costa, as well as regional pottery from Chupícuaro, and folk handicrafts from around the state: textiles, ceramics, ironwork, tinwork, pottery, confectionery, stonework, traditional games, candles and objects relating to Mexican equestrian traditions, among others.

The national and regional events which marked Mexico’s history, from the events of the fight for Independence to the establishment of the Republic in 1823, are represented through documents, pictures and maps. The work of three Guanajuato artists stands out in this museum: Romualdo García, the state’s best-known photographer, whose work is considered to offer a catalogue of the social classes in Guanajuato between 1887 and 1914; the extraordinary paintings of Hermenegildo Bustos, and the excellent murals by José Chávez Morado.



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