A while ago I came across a Facebook post title, ‘If You Had To Choose One Museum In Mexico City, what would it be?’, with the basic premise that the visitor will be in the city for just three days. I never got around to putting in my suggestion, but I enjoyed reading other people’s recommendations. I’ve seen my fair share of Mexico City’s museums. In fact, there can’t be that many people who’ve been to more of the city’s museums than I. There’s around 150 in total. I started totting up the places I’ve been to, but lost count. Well over half of them.
The most common suggestion seemed to be the Anthropological Museum. Which is a very fine museum in a very nice part of the city. But it wouldn’t be my suggestion. Frankly, it’d take you the full three days to really do it justice. It’s not quite on the British Museum scale of ‘big’, but it’s still pretty large. And it’s often heaving with fellow tourists. To be honest, if you are interested in Mexico’s pre-Columbian history, go on a day trip to Teotihuacan.
There are plenty of museum’s I would heartily recommend to the passing traveller. The Dolores Olmedo museum is a place of both beauty and tranquility, perfect for the weary soul who needs some respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. But it’s a bit far from the centre of town. Leon Trotsky’s former home is one of my favourites, but by its nature caters to a very specific type of tourist. Frida Kahlos house, Casa Azul, and hubby’s Anahuacalli are both great. The Modern Art museum is another I’d love to revisit.
But I have to stick to the rules and choose just one. So here it is. The Franz Mayer museum. And why not? It has a great location in the city centre, which is convenient for the time pressed tourist. Belles Artes, Torre Latinoamericana and Avenida Reforma are just a stones throw away. The building itself is a wonderful example of colonial architecture. There are regular temporary exhibitions which I always found interesting.
The collection itself is a fascinating mix of decorative arts, including furniture, paintings, fabrics and other objects which mostly date from the 15th to the 20th century. Then there is the wonderful little courtyard cafe. A place I once, in a previous lifetime, spent many a morning, enjoying the most agreeable atmosphere of this excellent museum. The place tells an interesting story, and tells it quickly. A leisurely morning stroll around the museum is perfectly sufficient.
Agree or disagree? Either way, I will shortly be returning to Mexico City, just for a few days. I’ll feel rather sorry if I leave without visiting this old haunt.