Review: National Museum of Anthropology (Mexico City, Mexico) – By the middle of the 17th century, your feet refuse to walk – even in the most interesting museum.
It’s probably a crime to be in Mexico City and not visit the National Museum of Anthropology at the same time. I couldn’t commit it, so I carved out time to visit.
The National Museum of Anthropology is the most visited museum in Mexico City and quite rightly so – the museum exhibition covers a huge historical period, it has unique exhibits. Just imagine – the area of the museum is 8 hectares, 23 exhibition halls.
To get to the museum you can take the metro, we went by orange line to the station Auditorio. And then we were a pleasant 1-minute walk along the avenues along the park Chapultepec.
We stayed a little longer at the alley – there are a lot of interesting sculptures. I understand that they are examples of modern art, but quite understandable.
The museum is open every day except Monday, from 9 to 19.
The entrance fee to the museums in Mexico City is quite low, a visit to the Museum of Anthropology will cost 70 pesos, which is something about 3.5 dollars. Card is accepted for payment. Things should be left in the checkroom. Photography is free.
If you walk along the park, the landmark that the museum is close, will serve this huge statue – it is the god of rain Tlaloc.
In front of the entrance are more tents of souvenir vendors.
Architecturally, the museum is very interesting and unusual. First, at the entrance is a huge umbrella fountain – a symbol of union with nature.
Secondly, the rooms of the museum are located along the perimeter, on two floors. Thirdly, some of the halls have an exit to the street, where there is also a part of the museum exhibit.
We started our tour from left to right, like normal people. But it turned out that we were wrong – it is correct to start the tour from the right side. There is a sign in front of the entrance to each room, you have to start with an introduction to anthropology.
This hall is quite informative and very informative – the stages of human development are described with the help of models-installations, which depict the daily life and occupation of people. For example, the carving of a deer carcass – brr…
I will not show you the panorama of cannibalism.
The next hall is devoted to the city-state of Teotihuacan. This is one of the largest cities in the western hemisphere, and at its peak its population was estimated at 200 thousand people. I will not tell you in detail about this hall of the museum, because we visited Teotihuacan in real life, will be a separate review. I will show only a fragment of the pyramid of the Feathered Serpent.
This pyramid was the most important religious and political center of Teotihuacan and is famous for its sculptural compositions. One of them is the head of the feathered serpent and the other is something like the god of the storm.
The pyramid was built between 150 and 200 B.C.
Typically, everyone wants to see the famous Mayan calendar in the museum. Although, in fact, it’s not that simple. So here it is – the most popular exhibit of the Anthropological Museum in Mexico City – the Sun Stone.
It was not created by the Maya, but by the Aztecs, the latest civilization. And what is depicted is not so much a calendar as a principle of world order according to the Aztecs. In the middle is someone with a completely unpronounceable name, holding two human hearts and showing a tongue that transforms into a knife. He is surrounded by four suns and fiery serpents.
Next to the sun stone you can see a statue of the goddess Coatlicue, the mother of the sun god.
And then there is this imposing and beautiful stone.
You can even admire it if you don’t know what it is. In fact, it was a sacrificial altar, and the hearts of the victims were placed in its hollow, and the blood of the unfortunates flowed through a groove into a special bowl.
Another of the interesting exhibits in this hall is the headdress of the chief of Montezuma, made of the feathers of the quetzal bird
Another exhibit in the Maya Hall is a model of Templo Mayor, a complex of sacred buildings of the Aztecs. It is now an open-air museum located in the center of Mexico City.
The next hall is devoted to the Mayan culture. Once again I can’t help but pay attention to the design of the museum – spacious halls, showcases with lighting – all this creates the right mood, immerses you in such a distant past.
The Maya came to replace the Olmec tribes. A large map shows Mayan settlements.
Part of the Maya borrowed the culture of the Olmecs, but much of it they created themselves. The halls dedicated to the Maya civilization are filled with all kinds of stone statues and stelae.
The stelae were erected to commemorate significant events and were decorated with carvings. And some served as places for sacrifices. here is just the top right photo – there is a notch on the belly of the statue. A great place to put the heart of a sacrifice.
In fact, you could look at the stone carvings for hours, if you had the time.
These pillars are very reminiscent of the menhirs of Slavic peoples. One can only exclaim: it’s a small world after all.
The Mayan hall is full of stone images of different deities and priests. It’s hard to walk past this handsome guy. This is Tlaloc, the god of rain, thunder and agriculture, which we already know. Jets of water fall from his mouth.
He doesn’t look very scary, but in fact he demanded a lot of human sacrifices. Usually children were sacrificed by drowning them in water. That’s how they were, these Mayans…
I think many people have heard about the hieroglyphic writing of the Maya. Unfortunately, the arrived conquistadors mercilessly destroyed all signs of the civilization of these people, and therefore very few written sources have reached our days.
The social system is very clearly represented on this pyramid, it seems that nothing needs to be explained.
From the Mayan hall there is an exit to the street, where part of the exposition is located. This is a very good move – in the natural setting the remains of buildings look very organic and clearly demonstrate how it looked in reality.
And walking around the halls a little bit tires you out, your attention is dispersed, and the change of scenery adds new strength and desire to continue examining.
By the way, these walls are parts of the facades of Mayan temples, which at one time were exported by pirate black diggers, and then returned to their homeland, Mexico.
A separate room is devoted to the culture of the peoples who inhabited the Gulf Coast.
They were considered very lucky – the places were fertile and rich, it was considered a true paradise on earth.
The last hall of the museum is called “Culture of the North” and is dedicated to the Anasazi people.
The Anasazi settled in Mexico in 500 BC. They started their evolutionary journey as hunters, but gradually learned to build canals, terraces, developed agriculture, and traded. The heyday was in 1000-1300 BC, and then the people disappeared.
The Anasazi were known for building their dwellings in caves. Here is a model of one such cave.
Personally, it reminds me a lot of our current apartment buildings.
There is a fragment of a cave painting in the museum. It is done in four colors – white, red, yellow and black, and represents the image of animals and women, which are the symbols of fertility.
Besides the cave cities, the Anasazi are famous for a special type of painted pottery. Just look at these dishes, the paintings on them can hardly even be called primitive.
The halls of the museum from this period are full of all kinds of ceramic figurines. I would call them works of art without exaggeration – many show character and mood.
My favorite was this brooding man. I wonder what worried the ancient man,
And this showcase looks creepy – it’s an ancient tomb. Apparently, here lies a complicated man – he was dressed, he wore many ornaments and around him were necessary for the afterlife household items.
By the way, the jewelry is very controversial, in our current view. Here, for example, is a necklace made of bones.
I was at the museum with our doctor, she liked the jewelry. She said it was just right for a doctor – she could repeat anatomy.
The second floor of the museum is ethnographic. It has a slightly different mood – halls are lighter, the exposition is more vivid. The halls of the museum display the clothing and homes of the different peoples inhabiting Mexico.
Very nice installations, full of story scenes, and I was happy to walk around. The dwellings are shown in sections, you can see what and how the roofs and walls were made and how the interiors were arranged.
In my review I probably did not show a tenth of what we saw in the Mexico City Museum of Anthropology. I highly recommend visiting it, it is a great exhibit, and you can learn a lot about the culture of the people. It is not without reason that the museum is one of the 25 most visited museums in the world.
Museum of Anthropology of Mexico City
80 pesos. Admission is free for Mexican citizens over 60 years old, under 13 years old, people with disabilities, teachers and students.
The National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City is one of the premier museum sites in Mexico and all of Latin America. The museum’s exhibit showcases the most extensive archaeological and ethnographic collection of Mesoamerican heritage.
Founded in the 1960s, the Museum of Anthropology is now known as one of the most iconic museums preserving Mexico’s indigenous heritage. It has become a symbol of identity and a mentor for generations searching for their cultural roots. Its collections continue to amaze visitors from around the world.
The beginning of the archaeological collection of the National Museum of Anthropology dates back to 1790. In the following years, major exhibits were discovered: the monumental sculpture of Coatlicue, the Sun Stone, the Tizoka Stone, and the head of Shushkoatl (the fire serpent). These finds have contributed to an increased interest in historical knowledge and a desire to protect this cultural heritage and its significance.
The former National Museum of Mexico, today the National Museum of Cultures on Moneda Street, lacked the capacity to protect, research and disseminate information about its archaeological and ethnographic collections. Since the early twentieth century, in the framework of the International Congress, Justo Sierra had expressed a commitment to the Mexican government to establish a new museum. After a series of attempts, the promise was not fulfilled until 1964.
Architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez brought much of the pre-Hispanic tradition to life in the construction of the National Museum of Anthropology in the southern part of Chapultepec Park. The purpose of the new building was to attract a large number of visitors by promoting the connection between the museum and the environment through quotations and poems from various historical sources showing the worldview of indigenous peoples. The design of the new museum’s exhibition rooms was intended to showcase the tremendous collaborative work of archaeologists and researchers, designers, educational experts and writers, and technical staff.
The National Museum of Anthropology of Mexico City has an extensive collection of ethnographic objects as well as archaeological specimens representing significant features of the worldview and daily life of indigenous peoples in contemporary Mexico.
The museum’s permanent exhibition is housed in 23 rooms on 2 floors, with another room reserved for temporary specialized exhibitions (imported and from the collections). The archeological section is on the first floor, ethnographic – on the second.
The main exhibition opens with introductory rooms devoted to anthropology as a science, the history of American settlement, and the Preclassic period within the Mexican highlands. Famous artifacts from the Museum of Anthropology include the Sun Stone (Aztec calendar), authentic archaeological finds from the abandoned city of Teotihuacan, and treasures from the Maya, Toltecs, Mixtecs and other peoples.
Part of the exposition is located in the courtyard of the museum, where a walking area with a garden and a pond has been created. Most of the outdoor area contains large exhibits, such as the monumental stone heads of the Olmecs and a huge fountain column.
The museum’s archaeological collection includes sections:
- Population of the Americas;
- Preclassic Central Highlands;
- Mexico section;
- Oaxaca culture;
- Gulf Coast culture;
- Mayan people;
- culture of the West;
- northern culture.
- Indian peoples;
- Great Nayar;
- folk traditions and customs;
- Otopam peoples;
- Sierra de Puebla;
- Oaxaca; South Indian peoples;
- Gulf of Mexico cultures;
- Maya – plains and jungle villages;
- Mayan mountain villages;
- Northwest: deserts and valleys;
Mexico City Museum of Anthropology exhibit on google panoramas
Temporary exhibitions at the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City may focus on the culture of particular civilizations or thematic collections (paintings, ceramics, and others). You can keep track of exhibition announcements on the museum’s official website.
Guided tours of the Museum of Anthropology are a service available free to all visitors Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. The last tour begins at 5:00 p.m.
To expedite the steps of arranging a free excursion service, you must: order the excursion in person or by phone at least 30 days in advance, then confirm the appointment approximately one week before the visit. You must arrive at the tour on time, preferably 15 minutes before it starts, as after this period the reservation will be cancelled.
Working hours and prices
The Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City is open year-round, daily, except Mondays and Sundays, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
The cost to visit the museum’s permanent exhibit is 80 pesos. Also, Mexican citizens over the age of 60, children under 13 and people with disabilities, as well as teachers and students (with a valid ID) can visit the museum for free.
Photography for personal, non-commercial use is allowed, but the use of a flash, tripod or additional lighting is not allowed. A video permit will cost 45 pesos.
Mexico City Museum of Anthropology on google panoramas
How to get to the Mexico City Museum of Anthropology
The Mexico City Museum of Anthropology is located in the heart of the city, in Chapultepec Park, which is popular with tourists.
There are two Mexico City metro stations in close proximity to the museum: Auditorio (line 7) and Chapultepec (line 1).
There are also a lot of stops of the city land transport, in particular buses 76 and 76-A (the nearest stop is Avenida Paseo De La Reforma – Museo De Antropología II), Metrobus 7 (Antropología stop)
There are also bicycle parking lots near the Museo de Antropología Mexico City, which are located at the bottom of the main esplanade outside the entrance of the building. There are also paid parking lots – for about 20 pesos per hour.
Cabs in Mexico City are licensed and private. It is recommended to use cab services with a license: for example, Radio-Taxis, Servi-Taxis, but for those who want to save money there are also local carriers: Taxi Mex, 586 Taxis, Yellow Cab, Taxis Nuevo México, Taxi Excelencia, Taxis Base Mexico, Taxi Genesis, Taxis Alamos, Taxi Silao, Taxi Ejecutivo and others.