El Carmen Museum, one of the most traditional cultural precincts in Mexico City, celebrates its first 8 decades as a museum with the exhibition 80 años, 80 obras del Museo del Carmen (80 years, 80 Works at Museo del Carmen), with items that span 3 centuries of history, based in a new museographic script that looks forward to rescue and exhibit the complete heap of the museum.

El Carmen Museum was founded in 1929 and ascribed to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in 1939. Its rich history and tradition in San Angel, a Mexico City neighborhood, goes back 400 years, when the Discalced Carmelite Order got installed.

“The exhibition pretends to recover part of one of the richest Colonial art collections, mainly sacred art from 17th and 18th centuries, although there are also items from 16th and 19th centuries”, commented restorer Alfredo Marin Gutierrez, director of the museum.

The exhibition is distributed in all the museum’s halls, so visitors have the opportunity to cover all the building. When it closes in March 2010, objects will become part of the permanent museography, which will show nearly 400 items, the 98 per cent of the heap.

“Our intention is to rescue from our warehouses as much objects as possible; by agreement with INAH National Coordination of Cultural Heritage Conservation (CNCPC) and the National School of Conservation, Restoration and Museography (ENCRyM), several paintings, textiles and historical documents have been restored”, declared Marin Gutierrez.

Among the most emblematic pieces exhibited are 8 paintings of the acknowledged Mexican artist Cristobal Villalpando, 5 of them signed, 2 attributed and one more with his signature barely perceptible.

Other paintings are La Santa Teresa by Juan Correa and some attributed to Miguel Cabrera; polychrome wooden sculptures from 17th and 18th centuries, a Carmelite codex, 3 choir books and a historical document from 16th century that narrates the history of the order.

The director of the museum commented that 17 thematic halls integrate the visit of the new museographic script; the idea is to become the best Colonial Art seat. Reorganization of pieces and halls will allow covering the entire museum, including spaces that public could not access in the past, such as Casa del Acueducto.

The building conceived between 1615 and 1617 by fray Andres de San Miguel presents architectural adaptations exclusive of the Carmelite order. The personal style of the friar was avant-garde for his time. Such order conducted their lives completely inside the convent and they needed to have every element to survive inside.
In December 3rd 2009 will be inaugurated the photographic exhibition Una mirada a traves de los trabajadores (The Workers’ Point of View), a perspective of the persons that have worked during decades at the building and are witnesses of its history. Two more shows will be open in 2010 as part of the Centennial of the Revolution and Bicentennial of the Independence celebrations:  Personajes negros en la pintura novohispana (Black people in Colonial Painting) and Gabinetes de una casa novohispana (Cabinets at a New Spain House).

The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00 hours. Admission fee is 41 MXP, and children under 13, senior citizens, the physically challenged, teachers and students with valid ID do not pay. On Sunday access is free of charge for Mexicans and residents.