Friday, June 14, 2024

5 Mexico City must-visit museums off the beaten track

Mexico City is home to an impressive array of museums – a staggering 185 are within the capital. If you live in Mexico or have checked out Mexico City visitor guides, you’ve definitely heard of the National Museum of Anthropology in Chapultepec, UNAM’s Contemporary Art Museum, the Rufino Tamayo Museum and Polanco’s Soumaya.

Aside from these iconic institutions, the city has many hidden gems that are worth a trip if you’re in the neighborhood. So, if you’re seeking unique cultural experiences off the beaten path, these quirky museums should be at the top of your itinerary. 

Mundo Chocolate Museo (MUCHO) (Chocolate World Museum): Unravel the secrets of everybody’s favorite guilty pleasure

The Chocolate Museum allows visitors to learn about the origins of the of the cocoa plant and the evolution of the fruit to become chocolate as it is consumed today.

Imagine a museum whose sole purpose is for you to smell dozens of chocolate bars on the wall. Or another where you can appreciate chocolate sculptures made by professional chefs. Expect this and more if you visit the MUCHO, located in the central colonia Juárez.

Don’t worry, you will get to eat chocolate here! But that’s not all: you can also reserve a group spot to make your own chocolate in a cooking class or attend a variety of affordable and fun workshops throughout the year — Visitors this April can decorate their own chocolate Easter eggs. 

Opening times: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Entrance: 500 pesos

Museo Anahuacalli: Explore Diego Rivera’s impressive pre-Hispanic collection

The name Anahuacalli means ‘house on land between two seas’ in Nahuatl.

Ever wanted to visit a museum whose structure was an art piece itself? Born out of muralist Diego Rivera’s desire to provide a unique space for his art collection, and as a planned (but ultimately unused) mausoleum for himself and Frida Kahlo, Anahuacalli’s design and architecture seek to recreate a teocalli, a pre-Hispanic temple. Made out of volcanic rock, its walls harbor 23 different rooms and a central patio. 

Located in the intellectual heart of the city, Coyoacán, this museum exhibits a permanent collection of pre-Hispanic art once owned by Rivera. These pieces are all representative of the cultures that flourished in Mesoamerica before the arrival of the Spanish.

Also a cultural center, the Anahuacalli stages frequent theater performances and holds various cultural activities throughout the week, from choir practice to dance lessons, book clubs, and other workshops. 

Opening times: Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Entrance: 100 pesos

Museo Kaluz: Discover the essence of Mexican culture and art through 5 centuries

Museo Kaluz has a wide variety of Mexican and foreign art from the 17th to the 21st century.

A seemingly random art collection that seeks to define “what is Mexican” through four main themes: landscape, dead nature, portraits, and genre art.

Not actually random at all, however, this museum has a wide variety of Mexican and foreign art from the 17th to the 21st century, including a vast body of work from Spanish exiles who came to Mexico after their Civil War. 

Kaluz is only three years old and the soul of what once was the Hotel del Cortés, a hostel dating the year 1620 located in the streets of the historic center. Apart from galleries, the museum also has a restaurant, a coffee shop, and a rooftop from which you can appreciate the beautiful downtown and its surroundings.

Every month they hold workshops, talks, classes, and other cultural activities in line with Kaluz’s artistic mission.

Opening times: Wednesday to Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Entrance: 60 pesos, free on Wednesdays

National Museum of Popular Cultures: Celebrating Mexico’s rich cultural heritage

The National Museum of Popular Cultures is located in Coyoacán. It is a space where popular and indigenous culture is preserved and promoted.

This museum is a space that studies, preserves, and celebrates indigenous and popular culture. Its exhibitions are temporary and varying in size, but always look to spread awareness of popular and indigenous Mexican art

Located in Coyoacán’s bustling main square, the museum is an ideal addition to trips to Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul, or Diego Rivera’s Anahuacalli.

The current exhibition, entitled “Zapata Lives!” runs until March 26 and is dedicated to one of the most important political and social movements in the last 40 years of Mexican history: the Zapatista movement. 

Opening times: Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Entrance: 18 pesos, free for over 60s and under-13s. Free on Sundays.

Museo del Estanquillo: Mexico’s cultural tapestry through the lens of a literature trailblazer

TheMuseo del Estanquillo is made up of more than 20,000 pieces, including photographs, paintings, drawings, engravings, scores, caricatures, miniatures and models.

Located in a beautifully grand corner building in the historical center of the city, this museum is made for lovers of literature, art, and Mexican history alike. It exhibits over ten thousand pieces of work that comprise the collection of contemporary Mexican writer Carlos Monosiváis. This includes engravings, manuscripts, sculptures, photographs, and historical documents. The collection features multiple other artists and writers and serves as a chronicle of Mexico’s social and political history. 

The current exhibition, “Cartoons and Revolution,” talks about the importance that satirical expression had before and during the revolution. A collection of drawings, prints, oil paintings, and photographs, among others, will be up until the end of April of this year. 

Opening times: Wednesday to Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Entrance: Free

Montserrat Castro Gómez is a freelance writer and translator from Querétaro, México.


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