20 de Agosto s/n, San Diego Churubusco, Coyoacán, 04120 Ciudad de México, CDMX
55 5604 0699
The National Institute of History and Anthropology (INAH) only has direct control over five museums in the country and one of them is the Museum of Interventions. This former monastery in the Churubusco area of the city was re-designed in the 1980s as a place that would display and remember the history of military conflicts fought on Mexican soil, and how the country has been shaped by these foreign interventions. It’s not one of the most well-known and visited museums in the city, but that also makes it attractive to experience a relaxing visit free of the bustle you might encounter at larger museums like the Anthropology Museum in Chapultepec, for example.
The monastery itself was built on top of an Aztec shrine dedicated to the god Huitzilopochtli, and as was customary by the Spanish invaders, they demolished it and built their own place of worship, in this case, a monastery for monks looking to head to Asia to evangelize other cultures. The place was designed to house 30 monks. The first floor of the museum is dedicated to showing the communal parts of the monks’ living quarters. This includes their kitchen, large dining room, restrooms, and sacristy, which have all been restored to their original appearance. Even the gardens look beautiful nowadays, the main patio showcases a fountain that was used by the monks to obtain fresh water and an orchard that supplied them with fresh fruit. The “patio menor”, or minor garden, was the place where the monks received visits from people outside the monastery.
The indigenous ruins, including artifacts, that have been discovered while making repairs to the monastery have been kept out of the public eye so far. During the Mexican-American war of 1847 the Mexican Army asked the monks to leave and used the monastery as a fortification to defend the city but eventually ran out of ammunition and had to surrender. The second floor of the museum has on exhibition objects including uniforms, flags, cannons, and other weapons from this conflict and other interventions Mexico has suffered, such as a French intervention, twice, one known as the Pastry War of 1838 and another larger French intervention in 1862. The XIX century showed a number of nations interested in Mexican territory and sowing the seeds of discord through political speculation, purchase attempts, diplomatic maneuvers, and flat-out military invasion.
Access to the museum costs $85 pesos and it’s open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This historic landmark isn’t quite as popular as its other counterparts in the city, yet it holds within its walls an important part of Mexican history that shouldn’t be forgotten.