Monday, February 21, 2011

Guadalajara's Top 20, Number 6: Museo Regional de Guadalajara

As indicated yesterday, our whirlwind tour of the city with Genaro last Sunday presented numerous opportunities to mark Top 20 items off of the list. Here's another.

Originally designed as the St. Joseph Seminary, this 300-year-old+ edifice was later repurposed as a holding facility for Spanish prisoners of war captured during the Mexican War of Independence. The building found new life in 1918 when it was reimagined as a museum. Today it is known as Museo Regional de Guadalajara, and is home to a variety of archaeological pieces and works of art that intend to document the history of western Mexico from prehistory onward.

The museum is currrently playing host to a haunting photo exhibit entitled "Testimonios de una guerra: Fotografía de la Revolución Mexicana." Below are some sample pieces from the exhibit.

The museum itself consists of only a dozen or so small galleries, so it's not uncommon to find yourself experiencing a drastic transition when walking from one exhibit to another. For example, right next to the photo exhibit above, we found ourselves exploring ancient (and just slightly older) times...

"Mammoth of Catarina," A sample of Mexican pottery, Sabre-Toothed Tiger

...And that's pretty much all she wrote when it comes to the first floor. The building and its surrounding grounds, however, are a work of art in and of themselves. Take a look at this beautiful staircase, for instance, and the courtyard it overlooks.

The second floor offers little more exhibition space than the first. We are in Mexico, however, and since this is a predominantly Catholic country, it would be nigh-impossible to leave the museum without seeing some (creepy) religious art.

And, for reasons I have yet to determine, there is a huge collection of horse-drawn carriages surrounding the upper balcony.

There were a few more pieces of interest, but I already find myself dangerously close to having shared the museum's entire collection with you.
Yes, this is a small museum, but that shouldn't detract from anyone's enjoyment of what is presented. Or maybe I'm just biased. I continue to find myself completely in love with almost everything I explore here in Mexico, from the quaint to the grandiose.

Although this is definitely closer to the quaint side of things, I would recommend a visit to any history buffs that find themselves traipsing around Guadalajara, especially on Sundays, when admission is free.

Museo Regional de Guadalajara is open Tue-Sat 9a-5:30p; Sun 9a-4:30p; closed Mon.


  1. Thanks for all the photos, it's really nice to see some cultural icons in the city. I have to say, number 5 seemed like a much prettier building, but for a 300 year-old seminary one can't expect too much I suppose.

    Is there a synagogue in Guadalajara? I guess I think of it as a strictly Catholic place, but I'm sure that's not everyone's choice.

  2. There are only two synagogues here, I believe. We attended services twice, but it just wasn't our thing. English/Hebrew is one thing...Spanish/Hebrew is quite another. Created quite a disconnect. The people were very nice, though, and most speak English. Maybe later in our tour, we'll consider giving it a second chance...Plus, we're Reform, which doesn't exist here.

    Are you Jewish, too, or just asking based on my prior posts?

  3. I was asking based on your other posts. I'm sort of a weird atheist. I have a fond appreciation for the ways in which people worship. I also enjoy going to churches and church music (even the old hymns), but I don't really believe in God.

    However, I absolutely appreciate the history and tradition of Judaism...and, privately, felt quite a bit more Jewish than Christian most of the time. I think a lot of Christians overlook the fact that they don't have a monopoly on God and that irritates me.

    I kid you not, I still keep a mezuzah on my door post - which, humorously enough, was a Christmas present from a friend...I also light a menorah each Hanukkah and my partner and I make our kids eat a Seder meal at Passover...we also blurt out the occasional Yiddish "Oy vey!" (mostly because he's a New Yorker, I think it's infused in them). I read the "Jewish Book of Why" just for fun.

    I've never known anyone to "convert" to Judaism, and the rabbi I spoke with made it sound like they really discourage that. So, when I read that you and TJ converted, I was amazed. Kudos to you for your faithful act and following what you believe.

    As for me, it's part of my life, but only in the sense that I appreciate the rich, historical tradition and cultural influence...I'm not sure I could go back to sustained belief in God, but I wonder if it would have been different if I were Jewish. I'll be the first to admit that the anti-gay movement in fundamentalist Christianity makes it very easy to reject the entire notion - particularly when it's built on a foundation of "love." I certainly can't prove there isn't a God and much truth can be gained from some of the true foundational principles in many religions.

    My life motto comes from Micah 6:8 - "Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly" (with your God). Sorry you asked yet? :-)