Forty five years ago, 44,000 square meters of Chapultepec Park were destined to an ambitious project: the construction of the National Museum of Anthropology (MNA). In a record timing, a year and seven months, it opened its doors in September 17th 1964, to become an “unforgettable place for Mexicans”.


This is how Alfonso Lujambio, Public Education minister, described the precinct during the inauguration of the exhibition “Museo Nacional de Antropologia. 1964-2009. El Pasado y Presente en tus Manos” (National Museum of Anthropology 1964-2009. Past and Present at your Hands), which through photographs, videos, interactive programs and models, registers its design and construction.

To give an idea of the magnificence of this museum, one of the most important on the international level, its 25 halls lodge 200,000 pieces of incalculable value. In 2008 and 2009, 2,800,000 visitors have admired them, from whom 39 per cent are basic education children.

The Public Education Ministry (SEP) leader recalled the educational mission of the museum. “Paraphrasing the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, insofar as we know our past, we will be able to construct our future with more certainty and security, and we will appreciate the value of our cultural heritage. A legacy that professional and devoutly conserves the National Museum of Anthropology”.

As a result of the inventiveness of architect Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, who attended the inauguration, and the vision of the Public Education minister at the time, Jaime Torres Bodet, the National Museum of Anthropology, recalled Alfonso Lujambio, inherits a tradition that goes back to 1790, when the Natural History Museum was created.

 “Today, at the threshold of Centennial of the Revolution and Bicentennial of the Independence celebrations, coming closer, knowing and valuing our roots, as well as strengthening our identity as Mexicans, allows us to build, from the present, the great tower that symbolizes the better future of Mexico, authenticating the liberty, democracy, inclusion and identity ideals defended with their lives by our heroes”.

There is the relevance of the National Museum of Anthropology, a place where Mexican childhood, youth and adulthood “enjoy, learn and get motivation”, parting from an encounter with their past and cultural diversity expressed by different indigenous cultures that dwell Mexico.

The minister mentioned some of the persons closest to the museum, among them, its creators, archaeologists Alfonso Caso, Ignacio Bernal, Roman Piña Chan, Alberto Ruz and Ignacio Marquina, as well as artists Jorge and Tomas Chavez Morado, Carlos Merida, Nicolas Moreno, Rufino Tamayo, Pablo O’Higgins, Mathias Goeritz, Miguel Covarrubias and Rina Lazo.

 “Forty five years after opening its doors for the first time, the National Museum of Anthropology is livelier than ever, and integrates one of the most important cultural heritage heaps in the world”, expressed the Public Education minister.   

At the inauguration of the temporary exhibition, Alfonso de Maria y Campos, National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) general director, accompanied by Consuelo Saizar, president of the National Council for Culture and Arts (CONACULTA), Diana Magaloni, director of the museum, and Marcos Fastlich, president of the museum’s board, mentioned the updating of this emblematic museum.

During the last 3 years, more than 90 millions MXP have been invested on infrastructure, mainly electric installation and security closed circuit television (CCTV) renovation; reformation of the Temporary Exhibits Hall, and the proper safeguarding of the National Library of Anthropology and History heaps.

“I have to acknowledge the labor of the late Felipe Solis Olguin, who was part of the first stage of the renovation; he devoted a great part of his life to the Institute and headed the National Museum of Anthropology”.

This museum, commented De Maria y Campos, “is the prism through which we can view our Pre Columbian and Indigenous legacy”, and its proper operation, result of public and private, academic, creative, cognitive and labor wills, “not only favors public visit, but enlarges the knowledge horizon and social enjoyment of our cultural heritage”.

The exhibition narrates the creation of the museum through 60 photographs from architect Ramirez Vazquez archive, as well as from photographer Armando Salas Portugal.

At the exhibition that can be visited during 2 months at the Temporary Exhibit Hall, 2 models outstand: the Tlaloc monumental monolith, found in Cuatlinchan, Estado de Mexico, and The Umbrella, created by Chavez Morado brothers.