I went to this brand spanking new museum (map no 47) a couple of months back, a few days after it opened. I didn’t go inside. I wanted to. I was willing to pony up the rather steep 55 pesos entrance fee. But there was one little issue. Before handing over any money, I checked to see if photography was allowed inside.
I was told, apologetically, that it wasn’t. For 55 pesos, I want to be able to take a few photos. It seemed a ridiculous policy to me, given that deeds of the holocaust and the momentum behind publicising the various atrocities demands the sharing and republishing of the stories.
But a friend recently told me that he had been, and he was allowed to take photos. A change of heart or had I been incorrectly informed in the first place? I cannot say, but this was all I needed to know, and along I went again to check out Mexico City’s latest museum.
In a word – disappointing. If you know nothing of Hitler’s genocidal campaigns, then the museum is a good introduction. If you do, even if only the basics, then it quickly becomes a little tedious. The museum is full of basic maps, video screens and wall charts telling the story, and lacks much in the way of tangible artefact to bring you nearer the events being discussed.
It’s a bit of a shame, because they’ve spent so much money on such a fine and bright building, but failed to deliver any real impact. It’s really not been laid out very well either, given the vast amount of space they have to work with. And there’s an even worse sin – for a brand new museum who must surely be aiming to bring in tourists as well as the local population, the lack of English to describe the exhibits is unforgivable. They don’t seem to know much about England either. The dot marking London on the map below is pretty much where Reading is.
The prize exhibit that they do have is at least a good one, and one of the few that is presented well. An original wagon from that was once used to transport Jews and other ‘undesirables’ to their very final destination. But worth the 55 peso entry fee in its own right? No. I’m afraid neither of my pieces on the Museum of Memories and Tolerance are very positive.