Photo Essay: Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park and National Museum of Anthropology

by Ekua on January 8, 2012 in captured on memory card,Mexico,race/culture/identity

In addition to wanting to explore a new colonia, I decided to base myself in the Roma-Condesa area for a few days so I could be just a little closer to Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park. On my first full day back in the D.F., I took a long and self-misguided walk to the park, and eventually found it with a lot of help from kind people along the way.

Chapultepec is akin to Central Park; it’s a huge tree-filled refuge from the city that houses various sights of interest and cultural institutions. One the most notable of them is the Museo Nacional de Antropologia. If you’ve been following my Mexico posts, you know that I have a keen interest in Mexico’s history and culture. This museum was like a culmination of all the places and stories I’d examined thus far plus an introduction to parts of Mexico and its history that I have yet to explore.

I didn’t get to spend too much time in the park, but I did enjoy my walk in on my way to the museum and seeing more unexpected sides of Mexico City.

A monument to the Ninoes Heroes, six teenage soldiers who died defending the castle in Chapultepec during the Mexican-American War.

The base of a large sculpture and fountain in the courtyard of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia.  It’s called “El Paraguas” and resembles a giant ornate umbrella that doesn’t protect you from the rain.

This is kind of like a plea to be remembered. Beautiful and applicable for the setting, but at the same time it’s sad to think about how what has been forced out of existence by oppression often gets reduced to a museum exhibit.

A hologram wall depicting faces of people or their skulls depending on where you’re standing. A poignant reminder of our similarities beneath the surface.

A model of Teotihuacan’s Temple of Quetzalcoatl.

A map of Tenochtitlan, i.e., what the area Mexico City encompasses looked like before the Spanish arrived and eventually drained the lake.

An Olmec head. These are incredible. In addition to being enormous, these heads are also known for their features which puzzle people because they more closely resemble African or Pacific Islander features than those of Mexico’s indigenous populations.

Portraits and stories of indigenous people of Mexico. I really like the way this was presented.

In one part of the museum, they use mannequins and sets to present life size depictions of culture in different parts of Mexico. Pictured here is Volador from the state of Veracruz. Apparently if you are lucky, there are certain times when the museum holds live performances of the Danza de los Voladores.

Beads, alebrijes and other crafts from the state of Oaxaca.

An intricate Tree of Life sculpture.

Tip: The Museo Nacional de Antropologia is extensive, so if you want to visit it, I recommend setting aside a whole day for it and another separate day for Chapultepec park.

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