The National Museum of Anthropology (MNA) has 24 exhibition halls, of which 23 are permanent and one is for temporary exhibitions, which are sometimes museum samples from various museums in the world.
The permanent rooms are distributed on the two floors of the building. The rooms dedicated to anthropology and pre-Hispanic cultures of the Mexican territory are located on the ground floor, from the Population of America to the Mesoamerican Postclassic Period . On the second level are the 11 ethnography rooms , where samples of the material culture of the indigenous peoples living in Mexico are currently exhibited.
Exhibition halls in south wing, second floor
Oaxaca: Southern Indigenous Peoples
This zone comprises an area home to about 16 indigenous groups, including Mixtec and Zapotec. The collection highlights the region’s cultural diversity.
The southern Indian peoples comprise a space that integrates around 16 indigenous peoples, including Mixtecos and Zapotecs. This room exhibits the cultural diversity of the region.
Gulf Coast: The Huas-teca and Totonacapan
It features two regions: the Teenek and Totonac, from La Antigua River to Central Veracruz, northward to Pánuco in Tamaulipas. Totonac textiles and Huastec musical instruments are on display.
This room exhibits the Teenek and Totonacos cultures, settled from the La Antigua River, to the center of Veracruz, to the Pánuco, in Tamaulipas. In this room you can see Totonac textiles and Huasteco musical instruments.
Lowland and Jungle Maya Groups
The Maya of Yucatán and Quintana Roo and the Chol of Campeche are represented by rituals linked to agricultural fertility; the Chontal of Tabasco, by fishing; and the Lacandon of the Chiapas jungles by rites to the ancestors.
This room shows the Maya of Yucatán and Quintana Roo, the Choles de Campeche with rituals associated with agricultural fertility, the Chontales de Tabasco with fishing, and the Lacandons of the Chiapas jungle, with their rituals to the ancestors.
The region is located in a wide territory that covers the center of Tabasco, the Yucatan Peninsula, the northwest of Chiapas and part of Belize. In Mexico live Hach Winik or Caribbean (Lacandón), Ch’ol, Tabasco Chontal and Yucatecan Maya peoples. They live with mestizos who speak Spanish and Guatemalan migrants of Mayan origin who reside in the jungles of Quintana Roo and Campeche. The Mayans participate in traditional culture as much as national culture, seeking a place within the modernizing current of the country.
Highland Maya Groups
It shows the indigenous groups in the Chiapas Highlands: Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Tojolabal, and Mam through their religious practices and objects linked to music, textiles, and amber.
The Mayan towns cover the Mexican states of Campeche, Yucatán, Quintana Roo and a part of Tabasco and Chiapas. In addition, they are found in a vast area of Guatemala and in a small portion of Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. In this territory cultures of the area are still preserved, whose origin is pre-Hispanic, but above all colonial and nineteenth-century. The stories of the Mayans vary from one region to another, but have in common the resistance, manifested in the attachment to the use of the language, to the cultivation of the land, in the way of conceiving the world, in the rituals of communication with the divinities and in sustaining the community as the basis of social organization.
In this room, the indigenous peoples of the highlands of Chiapas are approached: tzltales, tzotziles tojolabales and mames, and their religious practices are shown, as well as objects related to music, textiles and amber.
The Northwest: Sierras, Deserts and Valleys
It focuses on aspects such as agricultural rituals, basketry, and the Deer Dance of groups such as the Seri, Papago, Cochimí, Yumano, Mayo, Yaqui, Tarahumara, Guarijío, Pima and Tepehua
The northwest is an extensive region that houses one of the most complete and diverse ecological-cultural mosaics in Mexico, which is divided into three broad subregions: the mountains, the desert and the valleys. These include the states of Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Sonora and Baja California, territories that since pre-Hispanic times were inhabited by numerous peoples and nations. Some of them became extinct or quickly adapted to the dominant culture, others, such as the rarámuri (taraumaras). O’ob (pimas), macurawe and warihó (gurijios), oodami (northern tepehuanes), conca’ac (seris), o’otham (pápagos), akwa’ala (pai-pai), ko’lew (kiliwa) , cohimi, k’umiai, cucapá, yoremes (yaquis and mayos) and mewséneme (kikapúes), managed to survive and have come to this day preserving their traditional identity and culture.This room shows the agricultural rituals, wickerwork, deer dance, among other aspects, of towns such as the Seris, Pápagos, Cochimíes, Yumanos, Mayos, Yaquis, Tarahumara, Guarijíos, Imaas and Tepehuas.
Composed of various groups in 13 states in Mexico, the Nahua share the same ethnolinguistic family and certain distinctive cultural features.
The Nahuas constitute the most widespread indigenous group in the Mexican Republic. They are a people linked to the land and its fruits, which has resolved in various ways its relationship with nature. Constituted by diverse towns, and distributed in 13 states of Mexico, the Nahuas share the same extra-linguistic family with certain cultural peculiarities.
The Nahuas inhabit the states of Veracruz, Puebla, Guerrero, San Luis Potosí, Hidalgo, Morelos, Mexico, Tlaxcala. Very few nuclei exist or existed until a few years ago in Michoacán, Jalisco, Durango, Federal District, Oaxaca, Guanajuato and the border region of southern Veracruz and western Tabasco. Each of the areas inhabited by the Nahuas has developed a peculiar way of living, dressing, cultivating the land and relating to the world; the differences between them are notable, although similarities and coincidences also exist. What is undeniable is that Nahua culture has a very large impact on the identity of Mexicans from very large areas of the country. In this room we can notice a large collection of characteristic objects of the Nahuas, among them is Macehualmej tiger masks.
Mexico National Museum of Anthropology
The National Museum of Anthropology (MNA) is one of the most important museum sites in Mexico and America. It is designed to house and exhibit the archeological legacy of the peoples of Mesoamerica , as well as to account for the country’s current ethnic diversity. The current MNA building was built between 1963 and 1964 in the Chapultepec Forest at the instruction of President Adolfo López Mateos , who inaugurated it on September 17 , 1964. Currently, the MNA building has 22 permanent exhibition halls, two temporary exhibition halls and three auditoriums. Inside is the National Library of Anthropology and History .
The collection of the National Museum of Anthropology is made up of numerous archaeological and ethnographic pieces from all over Mexico. Among some of the most emblematic pieces of the collection is the Piedra del Sol – which is the heart of the museum itself – the colossal heads of the Olmec culture , the monumental Teotihuacan sculptures dedicated to the gods of water, Pakal’s tomb , the funeral offerings of Monte Albán , the stelae of Xochicalco , as well as a Toltec atlantean brought from Tollan-Xicocotitlan and the Tláloc Monolith that guards the entrance to the museum.
The MNA is one of the main tourist sites in Mexico. It attracts more than two million visitors every year. The museum is one of the largest museums on the continent.
The museum also hosts visiting exhibits, generally focusing on other of the world’s great cultures. Past exhibits have focused on ancient Iran, Greece, China, Egypt, Russia, and Spain.