Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Top5 Museums to enjoy in Mexico City.

Yep. Mexico City has the largest number of museums in the world. Are you having problems with choosing? Don’t worry. I'll do the work for you and will pick interesting venues for you to visit effortlessly!

Here’s my top 5 museums (in no particular order) for this month...


There is a very High-Tech-looking building next to Papalote Museum. Well, it is MUTEC. Since everybody talks about global warming nowadays, the Tech Museum is a perfect destination, for it helps understand what happens with climate change and gives away tips for using electrical power properly. The whole family can talk with the home appliances in "La casa de la energía", which are pretty much alive: they’ll teach you how to change your everyday life. This was the first museum with the “anti-do-not-touch” concept, followed by the Exploratorium in SFO, CA. So, play with the levers, buttons and strings settled specially for you all over four big showrooms. Get on a helicopter and fly inside the museum driven only with the energy generated by your movement, or listen to what Edison has to say to Tesla over their inventions while their portraits talk to each other. How about ending your tour with a stroll through the gardens enjoying its giant sculptures?

Tuesdays to Sundays: 9am to 5pm.

Fee: free admission!
Address: Avenida Grande del Bosque # 1, 2nd Section of Chapultepec. 5516965/64.
Guided tours: look for the “ener-guías”, enthusiastic students who will explain every process and experiment for you.
Workshops: Origami, airplane’s creation and robotics for children and adults throughout the year during the weekends and during summers.

2. Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso
Have you ever wondered how could you draw a map of your country without aerial photographs or any modern instrument? Do you know which were the first maps in history? Do you know any tool to make maps? Do you think there are different kinds of maps? Discover all this while flying through the mexican territory without leaving the museum. Visit the eight showrooms’ exhibit: "Paseo en Mapa; exporando las claves de América Latina", which runs until July 25. Go out and get some air at the central courtyard and admire the museums’ permanent collection: the murals of Diego Rivera, Jean Charlot, Ramón Alva de la Canal, Revueltas and José Clemente Orozco that cover this building’s walls, a delight by its own means. A very tempting shop invites you to spend hours reviewing books, magazines, cards, kitsch and traditional crafts or Mexican designers’ jewelry for mom...

Hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Tuesdays 10am to 8pm.
Fee: $45.00 Students and teachers with valid ID $22.50; general admission is $15.00 when there’s no temporary exhibits going on: students and teachers with valid ID: $7.50.

Admission is free for:
- Museum members
- Children under 12 years
- Older people
No fee on Tuesdays.
Address: Justo Sierra 16, Centro Histórico (behind Templo Mayor Site). 57026378.
Guided tours: for the building and temporary exhibits. Led by volunteer guides for free. Information: 57892505.
Workshops: Workshop "Opus corpus!" Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 11am to 4pm. Fee: $30.00

3. Estanquillo Museum
Named Estanquillo because, like in Mexican “mercados”, you’ll find everything here. It houses Carlos Monsiváis’, (a famous Mexican writer) collection, endowed with pieces of all kinds, mainly on political cartoons, and historical photography from Mexico, but also piggy banks, models, toys, albums, calendars, advertising, music sheets and books. This site aims to treat art without solemnities and use it as a proof of physical and social changes of the city and the country itself: currently displaying the exhibit "Mexico through its causes (México a través de sus causas)", with all sorts of documents and pieces that witnessed the changes that the country suffered since the end of the 19th Century until late into the postrevolutionary era. Very ad-hoc nowadays, during Mexico’s bicentennial celebrations ... Mom will have a good time listening to the Adelita ballad or trying to recognize the city and the people that appear in the old photographs, an excellent pretext to challenge the historical knowledge of the whole family!
Hours: Wednesday to Monday: 10am to 6pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
Fee: free admission or conscious voluntary cooperation.
Address: Isabel la Católica 26 (& Madero St.) Centro Histórico. 55213052.
Workshops: Comic creation: Fridays 4pm to 7pm.

4. José Luis Cuevas Museum
An imposing Giant woman standing in the middle of the courtyard of the compound, protects the José Luis Cuevas’ self-portrait on her right knee. She invites you to visit the permanent collection of the museum, with over 1800 works of Latin American artists. Well saved but also open to the public is the Centre for Documentation and Research Octavio Paz, with a specialized & extensive archive on José Luis Cuevas, excellent for those wishing to enrich their knowledge after visiting the museum. Gerardo Cantú’s (born in 1934) “Un mismo amor”, is the temporary exhibition of drawing and painting that will run until June 10. It will remind you of the fauves’ work. Sometimes reminiscent of Cézanne as if he applied Gauguin’s use of the paintbrush, this Mexican living artist has a refined sense of social justice, and is convinced that art will prevent, maybe indirectly, delinquency and crime. As he says: "Art always serve these purposes." Surprise mom or your “mama-cita” with the free cultural shows offered by the museum: look for the schedule in our section VIP Tips latter in this article.
Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 6pm.
Fee: $ 20.00, 50% discount for teachers and students with a valid ID card. Free admission for members of INSEN.
Sundays free entrance.
Address: School No. 13, Centro Histórico: 55,220,156.
Workshops: drawing, painting and photography and more educational activities to get children and adults to approach art: Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 3pm.
Guided tours: For public in general and school groups: 55426198 Ext 104.

5. Folk Art Museum (Museo de Arte Popular)
We’re received with a wall of indigenous languages’ greetings. In the yard, the train of history and many tables with facsimile newspapers from the revolutionary era show situations about Mexico’s history. This is one of the first choices for those who love tradition and folklore. This Art Déco building houses an impressive collection of everyday objects and ornamental, religious or magical pieces combining the naive idea of art with Mexican materials and identities. Enjoy a short film on crafts at the auditorium every day, and enjoy yourself on Sundays listening to the storytellers that entertain people at the courtyard.

Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 6pm. Thursdays 10am to 9pm.
Fee: $ 40.00.
Free admission for:
• Children under 13 years.
• The Disabled.
• People over 60 with valid ID of INAPAM / INAPLEN.
• Students and teachers with valid ID.
• Indigenous and Artisans with valid ID.
Free admission on Sundays.
Address: Independencia # 11, Entrance at Revillagigedo St., Centro Histórico.
Workshops: The museum offers traditional crafts’ workshops for the general public, artisans and children.
Guided tours: call Urania Núñez: 5510-2201, ext. 128 for information.

Getting There:
• MUTEC: Metro Chapultepec: take the microbus towards “Feria de Chapultepec” and then cross to the MUTEC.
• San Ildefonso: Metro Zócalo, almost next to Templo Mayor Site.
• Museo del Estanquillo: Metro Allende.
• Museo José Luis Cuevas: Metro Zócalo Bet. Moneda and Guatemala.
• MAP: Metro Hidalgo and Metro Juárez, one block away from Alameda Central, facing Teatro Metropolitan.

What you need to know:

• MUTEC: Located at the garden, visit the PUMA, a former helicopter conditioned to function as a movie theater, or go to the Planetarium and learn a bit about the universe.
• San Ildefonso: there are guided tours through the building and a complementary workshop from Tuesdays to Fridays, from 9am to 3pm. Booking is essential. Dial 57892505 for more information; $ 35.00.
• Estanquillo: This museum offers a Comic Creation workshop Friday from 16 to 19h. Look for it on the 4th floor.
• José Luis Cuevas: Ask the store for the special ties and scarves in Italian silk presented in a wooden shelf, designed and signed by José Luis Cuevas himself.
• MAP: toys, textiles, books, postcards, jewelry, ornaments, pottery, brass work, paper, glass, painting, musical instruments, furniture, miniatures and lots of sights wait for you at the museum shop.

VIP Tip:
• Chinatown, located on Dolores & Marroquín St. right next to the Alameda Central, is an excellent option to take a look and enjoy good dishes after visiting the Folk Art Museum.
• José Luis Cuevas Museum has regular programming for free cultural shows:

Fine Arts Concerts: Sundays, 1:30pm
Poetry - Theatre - Dance – Folk Music: Sundays, 4pm.
Chorus - Opera – Operetta: Saturdays, 1:30pm

• Estanquillo Museum is inside a beautiful nineteenth century building called Esmeralda, at one of the most visited junctions at the city’s Historical Center, and has a terrace with a breathtaking view. Enjoy a coffee and visit the small but showy store.
• At San Ildefonso the box office ticket sales suspended 30 minutes before closing time. The museum is suitable for the development of cultural, business and social events, call 57026378 for information.
• MUTEC: This museum has the Fisher-Price room so that the little ones can have a good time.

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