When I went off to Merida at the end of January, I stumbled across a new museum in the outskirts of the city. It was one of those moments where you see a sign and follow without knowing what you may come across. Boy am I glad I followed! This was a find and one that I would return to in a heartbeat.
When I saw ‘Museum of the Sacred Art’ I thought Mexican Folk Art, but what I walked into was so much more than this.
The Museum is located in a small town called Conkal, about 15 minutes outside of Merida as you return to the Riviera Maya. The museum is inside a newly renovated seminary that has housed priests, and still does, for centuries. The church attached to the seminary is the San Francisco to Assis Church.
But more exciting is this newly opened museum that showcases religious artifacts from churches throughout the Yucatan and the history of the Archdiocese of the Yucatan.
There are bibles dating back to the 16th century. There is hand carved religious art and hand crafted robes from priest and archbishops. The Curation of the museum artifacts is well done and includes documentation of the renovation completed by local workman.
Though the intention of the museum is to showcase the influence of the Archdiocese on the Yucatan and its leaders, what we found was a treasure trove of Yucatan history, including old maps, photos and more! I loved the walk through history that this museum provided.
When the museum was just about to close, the gentleman took our entrance fees – a whopping 20 pesos/$1 USD by the way -asked if we had any questions. This led to a long conversation about the history of the building and a tour of the sustainable practices still in use. Rain water capture systems were built into the structure, a cenote was on the grounds and functioned as the well, and the positioning of the building was intentional to ensure good use of daylight and heat from the sun. Smart, super smart!
This is the cenote where the building captures rain water (ingenious design) and also acts as a well.
There were quite a few priest robes from past centuries. What was intriguing about these is the incredible decorative needle work we saw. This is only one of many, and we would love to know who created these beautiful accessories.
Just one of may hallways displaying religious artwork.
My favorite photo of the interior of the building.
The courtyard of the renovated seminary.
Another peek into the seminary that our guide showed us. The guide is not a service offered at the museum. Our inquisitiveness prompted the cashier to lead us through the museum, lucky us!
This is one of the original preserved paintings in the museum. It was painted in the 16th century and is still in pristine condition.
The Museum is located in the small village of Conkal, just northeast of Merida off Hwy 176. There are plenty of signs that direct you to the museum, but if you are using google maps the exact address is Calle 21 between Calle 20 and 22.
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9: 00 am to 1:00 pm Monday through Friday and 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Saturday and Sunday. When we visited in 2017 the entrance fee was 20 pesos/$1 USD.
Check out more adventures in Merida, one of our go to places for history, architecture and a fun long weekend!