San Miguel Chapultepec, Miguel Hidalgo, 11580 Mexico City, CDMX
55 5211 5239
When visiting the Bosque de Chapultepec, the main park and “lung” of Mexico City, one may find that there are an overwhelming number of activities to perform and places to see, many of course centered around the culture and art of the city and of Mexico as a nation. The perfect complement to the National Museum of History, better known as the Chapultepec Castle, is just downhill in the odd shape of a snail. It’s the Museo del Caracol Galería de Historia, which was created as “an open textbook” (quoted then-Secretary of Education Jaime Torres Bodet), easy to understand and that it would appeal especially to children. It was inaugurated some 60 years ago and designed to present an exhibition featuring the history of Mexico in a fun way that fosters imagination. There are models, photos, and paintings that educate a broader public on the history of Mexico as a modern nation, from the start of the Independence to the enactment of the 1917 Constitution.
The museum exhibits the precarious nature of Mexican democracy, from uprising and fragile governments to major battles, foreign intervention, and the important people who participated in these historic events and defined what is currently the democratic country of Mexico. There’s a willingness on behalf of the museum and its curators to instill in young people, particularly children, a sense of belonging and community, and to, of course, teach them about the mistakes of the past that should be avoided by the newer generations that will one day lead the country. The Museo del Caracol further expands its exhibitions with the addition of workshops, concerts, and summer courses.
The Museo del Caracol (“Snail Museum”) gets its peculiar name due to its shape which some say it’s in the form of a snail. It was built in the mid-XX century by architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez who also designed the Azteca Stadium, the National Museum of History and Anthropology, and the Estadio Cuauhtémoc in Puebla. The Museo del Caracol was built fairly quickly in only 10 months and was envisioned by Ramírez Vázquez as a structure that would be in total harmony with the Cerro de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Hill). Access to the museum costs $75 pesos and is free for children under the age of 13, as well as students, professors, and retirees. It really is the ideal complement within a day of learning at the Castle of Chapultepec and the Bosque de Chapultepec as a whole.