The Museum Archive of Photography (Museo Archivo de la Fotografía – MAF) is housed in a building popularly known as “La casa de las ajaracas” on República de Guatemala 34-38, in Mexico City’s Historic Center.
The MAF museum collection includes more than 100 years of photographic images. These depict the efforts of local administrations to provide the Mexican capital with public services and infrastructure, and ongoing improvements to the urban environment. The collection consists of about two million photographs, attesting to paving works, the construction of buildings and monuments, parks and gardens, street lighting, the organization of festivities, and events linked to the uses and customs of the people. There are also records of political works of the administrations including at the alcaldia/delegational levels, and of the governments of and within the former Federal District.
The creation of the archive came about to meet the need to preserve more of the past and marked the beginning of a policy of safeguarding and preserving still images. It was a government-led initiative from the beginning.
The MAF of today has the mission of organizing, conserving, administering, and disseminating the graphic memory that represents a reunion with our predecessors and reinforces the identities of the residents of the city.
The building housing the MAF, the Casa de las Ajaracas, was built at the end of the 16th century and owes its name to the Mudejar plasterwork.
It’s built on top of some of the oldest parts of the city, and part of the building was demolished to reveal parts of the Templo Mayor in 1913. The present house is only part of a structure rebuilt beginning in 1755 as a reconstruction of a 16th-century house then in poor condition. A Tlaltecuhtli monolith representing the deity of the Earth was found on the site in 2006 during excavations of the Templo Mayor. It can be viewed within the Templo Mayor museum.