In your spare time, we are hoping you will find your way to some of Oaxaca’s many excellent museums of art and art galleries.
ALVAREZ BRAVO PHOTOGRAPHIC CENTER (CFAB), M. Bravo 116, at García Vigil. Changing photographic exhibitions in a beautifully restored building.
CITY MUSEUM (CASA DE LA CIUDAD DE OAXACA), Porfirio Días 115, at Morelos. Includes a large “Foto Piso” or aerial photograph of the city of Oaxaca that you can walk on. Also houses the Andrés Henestrosa Library.
INSTITUTE of GRAPHIC ARTS of OAXACA (IAGO) located at Alcala 507, north of Allende opposite the Santo Domingo Church, was created in 1989 by one of Mexico’s most original and important contemporary artists, Oaxaca native, Francisco Toledo. IAGO has a splendid 10,000 volume library on art, architecture, archaeology, photography, movies, crafts, literature, and design; also a permanent collection of over five thousand graphic works, temporary exhibition galleries, a select book shop of hard-to-find publications, and two patios (one a restaurant). Its low-key atmosphere in a restored colonial house provides added charm to its highly professional resources and operation. If you are lucky, you might catch glimpses of Toledo hanging out here.
MUSEUM of CONTEMPORARY ART of OAXACA (MACO), Alcala 202 between Morelos and Murguia. 10 pesos admission fee last we checked. This is housed in a large colonial building with two handsome patios (one with food service) and a good bookstore of non-commercial monographs, magazines, postcards, and books on Mexican arts and culture, mostly in Spanish. With large galleries on two floors, the museum features permanent exhibitions of Oaxaca artists Francisco Toledo, Rodolfo Morales, Rufino Tamayo, Rodolfo Nieto, and Francisco Gutierrez. It also holds important temporary exhibitions from México and abroad. Website in Spanish: http://www.museomaco.com/
MUSEUM OF OAXACAN PAINTERS (MUPO), Independencia 607. Near the Alameda square. http://www.oaxacaes.com/museodelospintoresaxaquenos.html
MUSEUM OF THE PALACE (formerly the state government building, on the south side of the zócalo). This was closed during my last visit, due to a workers’ strike, but if you can get inside this summer, you’ll find beautiful murals with historical themes painted by Arturo García Bustos.
PHILATELIC MUSEUM (MUFI), Reforma 504. Even if you are not a stamp collector, you will appreciate the artistic and informative displays in this relatively new museum. Very creative management. http://www.mufi.org.mx/
REGIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CRAFTSWOMEN OF OAXACA, 5 de Mayo, south of the Camino Real hotel and also on the east side of the street. This collective is a retail store, not a museum, but the arts and crafts are extensive in the many rooms of the two-story building where it is housed. Profits benefit craftswomen.
REGIONAL MUSEUM of the STATE of OAXACA, located in the Ex-Convent of Santo Domingo on Alcala between Gurrion and Berriozabal. (We are visiting this one as a group!) 35 pesos admission but free on Sundays and holidays. Video permit another 30 pesos. It is an excellent regional museum covering the period from nomadic hunters to high pre-Hispanic civilization represented by Monte Alban (its apex was 300-800 A.D.). This is a ‘must’ visit partly because of the stately building itself, the grand two-story cloister with its monumental stairway to the second floor with grandiose early fresco work on walls and the vault of the stairwell. And also because the museum contains essential information for the visitor to obtain some grasp of the important pre-Hispanic past of the region as well as providing a chance to see a selection of the gold jewelry found in archaeological sites in the State of Oaxaca; most notably the rich trove found by archaeologist Alfonso Caso in Tomb 7 of Monte Alban. Tuesday–Friday: 10am–8pm; Saturday/sunday/Holiday: 10am-5pm. Closed Mondays.
RUFINO TAMAYO MUSEUM of PRE-COLOMBIAN ART located at Morelos 503 between Porfirio Diaz and Tinoco y Palacios. (We are visiting this one as a group!) 30 pesos admission. The acclaimed Oaxaca painter Rufino Tamayo restored this handsome colonial house and designed the installation of his pre-Columbian art collection of pieces from Mexico’s major ancient civilizations. Tamayo began collecting in 1948 on a trip by donkey around the State of Veracruz, where he saw ancient Olmec idols lying in streams and little girls dressing them up like dolls. He came back with six crates of immensely valuable pieces purchased for 20 to 100 pesos. Monday–Saturday: 10am-2pm, 4pm-7pm; Sunday: 10am-3pm.
RELIGIOUS MUSEUM OF LA SOLEDAD is in the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad on Independencia 107 between Arteaga and Morelos. This museum shows adornments, memorabilia and works of art related to the cult of the Church and the Virgin of the Soledad, patron saint of Oaxaca.
TEXTILE MUSEUM is on Hidalgo 917, at Fiallo. (We hope to be visiting this one as a group!) Here’s the website: http://www.museotextildeoaxaca.org.mx/
BIBLIOTECA INFANTIL is not an art museum, but a very beautifully designed and charming place worth a visit. Address: José López Alavez No.1342 (between Calles Hornos y Dr. Gilberto Bolaños Cacho) in the Barrio Xochimilco.
Find it on Google Maps.
[Source: some information is quoted from: http://www.oaxacaoaxaca.com/museums.htm.]
We also recommend the Centro de Arte de San Agustín (el CASA) in Etla. We may make a group visit there, but if not, it is a highly recommended trip for a weekend.