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The Museo del Caracol, located very near to the Chapultepec Castle, has been open for some 60 years. The goal has been to promote the imagination and knowledge of the history of the country to a broad audience and in particular to children. The museum’s primary purpose is to teach history in a fun way. The perfect complement to the National Museum of History inside the Castle, in fact, it’s just down the same hill.
With models, photos and paintings, it’s the perfect place to learn about Mexico as a modern nation, from the dawn of Independence, up to the enactment of the current 1917 Constitution. Then Secretary of Public Education, Jaime Torres Bodet, intended it as “an open textbook,” easy to understand, and available to all the people.
Conspiracies, armed uprisings, fragile governments, major battles, but also tragic moments, and defeats and failures are part of the museum. The presentation was designed to exercise the senses of sight and thought. And in addition to the permanent exhibitions, there are workshops, concerts, storytelling, summer courses, and more.
The Museo del Caracol is also, of course, something of a mid-20th century architectural oddity. Built and opened in only 10 months, it was a collaborative exercise for all the great minds of the period. Architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez intended the building to reach a harmoney with the Chapultepec hill.
The Museum came to be named for the buildings snail-shell shape. Its title is usually followed in Spanish by the parenthetic Galería de Historia.
With elaborate 3-D scenes and maquettes, each diorama has audio and lighting. The property also features sculptural works by artist, Chávez Morado. Among them is the bronze entranceway which refers to the fusion of the European and American cultures.