Guatemala’s Most Interesting Art Museums

artifact (400x400)Art in Guatemala tends to focus on the country’s Mayan heritage, colorful handwoven textiles and costumes, and colonial and contemporary artists. If you’re into textiles, the Museo Ixchel del Traje Indigena features the clothing and textiles of the Mayan Guatemalans, dating from the end of the 19th century until today. This museum is definitely worth visiting, especially since the indigenous peoples of Guatemala are starting to wear Western clothing instead of their native textiles. The exhibits are frequently updated and well-organized, and information about each work is presented in both English and Spanish. The Museo Ixchel (pronounced “e-shell”) also has an audio-visual room where you’ll get to watch three short films that provide an excellent introduction to the textile traditions of Guatemala’s indigenous peoples.

Near the back of the museum is a collection of about 70 contemporary paintings by Carmen Pettersen and the exhibit features men and women in their native costumes. Before you visit, you might want to read her book, The Maya of Guatemala : Life and Dress, so that you can better appreciate the museum’s collection.

Admission is about US $5 and you should allow two to three hours for a visit. As with other museums in the country, picture-taking is not allowed. If you have the time and want to visit the other two museums on campus, ask for a combo ticket, which includes admission to all three museums on campus. The museum is located on the campus of the Universidad Francisco Marroquin at 6 Calle Final Zona 10, Guatemala City 01010, Guatemala and their phone number is 502-2361-8081.

The Museum of Modern Art “Carlos Merida” (Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno “Carlos Mérida”) in Guatemala City features contemporary Guatemalan art, including works by Guatemalan muralist Carlos Mérida. Information about the collection is presented in Spanish only, the museum’s atmosphere is casual and it takes about an hour to see all of the exhibits. The museum is close to La Aurora Zoo and the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología). As with other museums in Guatemala, no picture-taking is allowed. The Museum of Modern Art “Carlos Merida” is located at Hall No. 6 (“Edificio 6”), National farm “La Aurora”, area 13 and their hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 12:30 plus 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Centro Cultural El Sitio in Antigua is a cultural center that promotes both artistic and social development in Guatemala. The center features artwork, concerts, films, and lectures and it is located at 5ta calle poniente no. 15 in La Antigua. You can contact them for more information at 502-7832-3037, 502-7832-6329 and 502-7832-6293 or by email: [email protected]

The Colonial Art Museum (Museo de Arte Colonial) features Guatemalan paintings, sculpture, furniture and architecture from the 16th and 17th centuries, including works by Thomas Merlo, Cristóbal Villalpando, Juan Correa and Miguel Cabrera. The museum is located at 5ª. North Eastern St. 5 in Antigua and is open Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. plus 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free on Sunday.