Housed in the spectacular Palacio Cantón, the Regional Museum of Yucatán is a must-see in Mérida.
The building itself is worth the price of admission. Its eclectic architecture combines Classic, neo-Classic and French Baroque details. It was built in the early 1900s by Francisco Cantón, then governor of Yucatan. He lived there until his death, and in 1959 it was inaugurated as the museum. The building is an icon on Paseo de Montejo, and its majestically carved white marble staircase is stunning.
The museum offers exceptional new exhibitions a couple of times per year, and also has permanent exhibits relating to Yucatán’s Maya history. The environment and pre-history are displayed, including pieces from the pre-ceramic era dating to 2800 BC. There are descriptions of cenotes and displays of conch shells from the coast. The sculpture hall includes elements found at various archaeological sites.
The Maya’s social evolution is portrayed, with pre-hispanic pieces of Maya faces showing tattoos, dental mutilation, and personal ornamentation. Political and social order is portrayed in the cities and states area. The Maya cosmovision is portrayed with elements that emphasize the symbolism of death as the beginning of a long journey to the other world. Burials included offerings which symbolized the person’s significance. Interregional relations were important to the Maya, and there is an area of the museum devoted to the products which were imported and exported throughout the Maya world. Tools and architecture are portrayed, as well as jade from the sacred cenote of Chichén Itzá.
The museum is located on Paseo de Montejo at the corner of Calle 43. Entrance on Calle 43. Entrance $55 pesos. Open Tuesday to Sunday 8 am to 5 pm.