Av. Paseo de la Reforma s/n, Polanco, Bosque de Chapultepec I Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11560 Ciudad de México, CDMX
55 5553 6266
Hands down the most visited museum in all of Mexico City, The National Museum of Anthropology is a public museum dedicated to preserving Mexico’s pre-Columbine heritage, it houses a plethora of archeological and anthropological artifacts from the ancient cultures that inhabited the territory of Mesoamerica before the arrival of the Spanish. It was opened in 1964 and was designed by Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, Jorge Campuzano, and Rafael Mijares Alcérreca. International visitors flock to the museum to admire the rich cultural heritage that has been re-interpreted in so many different ways by the media over the years, here they can witness firsthand the original source.
It’s located within the Parque de Chapultepec off Paseo de la Reforma, and it can easily be reached by Metro station “Auditorio” from Línea 7, as well the Turibus can drop you off as it’s part of its route. Admittance costs $75 pesos and is free for children under 13 years old, it’s also free to foreign residents on Sundays (with a valid FM document). Once inside you can start marveling the courtyard of the museum, which has a massive oblong fountain at its center called “el paragüas” (“The umbrella”). The museum has 23 exhibit rooms and also many outdoor exhibits.
The museum’s collection is so massive that you could consider visiting it a few times in order to be able to see everything, but even a single day will surely leave you mesmerized by the scope of its collection. Certainly one of the must-see “attractions” is the Aztec Sun Stone, which is a massive 25-tonne archeological masterpiece, its true meaning is still debated to this day, some consider it a calendar, the stone was unearthed in 1790 when making repairs to the Metropolitan Cathedral. The Spanish had buried it in the Zócalo shortly after they arrived.
Another masterpiece that shouldn’t be missed is Moctezuma’s Penacho (or “Headdress”), well a replica actually, as the real one is in a museum in Vienna. But it’s every bit as gorgeous as the original, made from feathers from the peacock and the quetzal, and sewn together with gold thread, the impressive headdress pops in such a colorful way, that it’s a good way to appreciate ancient life in these lands far removed from schoolbooks or web-pages on your screen. The museum’s collection is notable in that way for children, as it teaches them first hand the artifacts of these ancient people, just people really, and there’s just no other way to appreciate these relics than with one’s very own eyes.