Mexico Life
The Pedro Coronel Museum in Zacatecas. The Pedro Coronel Museum in the city of Zacatecas.

Visit Zacatecas for a cultural experience

The state boasts more than 100 museums

Close to 100 museums can be found in the state of Zacatecas, making it one of the best options in Mexico for travelers interested in enjoying a broad cultural experience during their vacation.

The state manages eight of those museums, the federal government three, and in each of the 58 municipalities there are one or two that are managed by the community.

The exhibits are varied accordingly and offer visitors everything from indigenous dance masks to works by prominent international painters. The prolific state art scene is also evident in the exhibitions.

The Pedro Coronel Museum, in the capital city of Zacatecas, has what is considered one of the richest collections in Latin America.

Visitors will find objects collected and donated by the late local artist Pedro Coronel. These include antiques of Egyptian, Greek, African, Chinese, Japanese, Hindu and Mexican pre-Hispanic and colonial origin, along with pieces by Picasso, Miró, Braque, Dalí, Chagall and Gasparelli.

A library of 20,000 volumes from the 16th to 19th centuries tops off the Pablo Coronel collection, which resides in the former San Luis Gonzaga college, a colonial building that dates back to 1616.

Not to be confused with that museum is another named for Pedro Coronel’s brother. The Rafael Coronel Museum, also located in the capital, is commonly known as the Museum of Masks, and boasts close to 10,000, all of which were once used as part of dance rituals or shows.

The collection also includes puppets once used by the Rosete Aranda troupe, pre-Hispanic pottery and sketches and drawings by Diego Rivera, who was his father-in-law.

The Rafael Coronel collection, located in the former convent of San Francisco, is considered the largest in the world of Mexican folk art.

Other renowned spaces in the state capital include the Manuel Felguérez Abstract Art Museum. Located in a former seminary, its exhibit encompasses 50 years of Mexican abstract art.

The Francisco Goitia Museum is located in the former residence of the state governors, a building inspired by French architecture and ample gardens. Its exhibit focuses on Zacatecas artists that include Goitia, Julio Ruelas, the aforementioned Coronel brothers, José Kuri Breña and Manuel Felguérez.

Diverting from art and into history, the Taking of Zacatecas Museum commemorates a battle of that name that occurred in 1914 and offers a visual panorama of that moment in history.

The Zacatecano Museum, located in a former mint, has an extensive exhibit of Wixáritari art, making it unique.

While the Cultural Center Ciudadela del Arte has permanent and temporary exhibits, its halls dedicated to Antonio Aguilar — a Mexican singer, songwriter, actor, producer and screenwriter — and Manuel M. Ponce — composer, music educator and scholar of Mexican music — attract the most visitors.

Sacred art exhibits can be seen at the Episcopal Gallery in the Cathedral of Zacatecas, or in the neighboring municipality of Guadalupe at the Guadalupe Museum.

The Transportation Museum, located in that same municipality, offers visitors a glimpse of the evolution of the motor through the ages, and includes a trolley car used by former president Porfirio Díaz.

Renowned Mexican poet Ramón López Velarde has a museum dedicated to his life and work in his native municipality of Jérez, while those looking for inspiration — or oblivion — can travel to Juchipila and visit the Museum of Mezcal.

Visitors to Zacatecas will also want to pay a visit to the state’s archaeological zones and their site museums. The municipality of Chicomostoc has La Quemada, while Chalchihuites has Altavista.

A third option will open its doors this year in Teúl de González Ortega. It is said to have a priceless archaeological collection.

Source: NTR Zacatecas (sp)

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