Expert opinion
Walking through a museum is like flying around the edge of the world
What do I think about being a museum-dweller? To start with, going against my sedentary nature, I have to walk around. It’s not a normal kind of stroll, of course, although not unlike what humans have been doing for the past three millennia. Walking through a museum is like flying around the edge of the world. You don’t have to prepare much for this journey or bring any special equipment: you just need to put on a pair of seven-league boots, open up your imagination and stop the clocks.

You fly over time, something we believe is slumbering on walls and inside glass display cases, and which always keeps its secrets. We also devour distances, in lands that become miniscule on the walls and screens, in the words and images bearing objects handed down from the past. We look at faces with aged expressions and heavy clothing, but they are always the same faces as our own. We look at decorations, furniture, weapons, and flags which men and women from the distant past used to fill their lives with signs. We discover their beliefs behind the sacred images and instruments used for worship, although the words that explained them and the surrounding rituals have been forgotten for generations. They say that journeys illustrate; museum visits nourish: feeding the memory.

The museum is our mirror: it reflects what we have wanted to be and what we desire to be. Sometimes we walk optimistically, confident that what we will see won’t give us any surprises because it has always been there, unchanging, awaiting us, resting in its glass case. But other times, standing in the same corners, and looking at the same displays, we are afflicted by doubts: we don’t understand why certain things have happened. Then the museum, the world’s shorthand, a synthesis of reality, seems incomprehensible and chaotic to us... Perhaps that is when the museum really leads us to the truth: the walk is never the same because there are many answers to the mysteries of the universe and they need to be discovered gradually, every day, on every journey. We understand why: the museum is the immense hieroglyph of the boundless human being.
Under translation
Under translation


The contents of this website belong to the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México, and may be downloaded and shared without alterations, provided that the author is acknowledged and if is not for commercial purposes.

Footer MediatecaINAH

Lugares INAH