In the early years, León’s collection was itinerant and moved between the Colegio de San Nicolás and the Palacio de Gobierno, until it found a permanent home in 1915 in this palatial, baroque building in Morelia, in order to be preserved as part of an effort to raise public awareness of research work related to Michoacán’s cultural heritage.
In 2011, the historic building occupied by the Regional Museum of Michoacán was painstakingly restored, and a new exhibition design now invites the public to discover the region’s history from the perspective of archeology, history, and art; the collection consists of more than 300 items exhibited in 12 permanent galleries organized by theme and focused on the cultural development of today’s state of Michoacán.
The following murals in this building were also restored as part of this renovation process: Grace Greenwood’s “Hombres y máquinas” (“Men and Machines,” 1934); Philip Guston and Reuben Kadish’s “La Inquisición” (“The Inquisition,” 1935); Federico Cantú’s “Los cuatro jinetes del Apocalipsis” (“The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” 1954); as well as Alfredo Zalce’s “Los defensores de la integridad nacional” (“Defenders of National Integrity,” 1951) and “Los pueblos del mundo contra la guerra atómica” (“The Peoples of the World Against Nuclear War,” 1951).
Various codex plates are also on display in the museum, including “Relación de Michoacán” (“Account of Michoacán) , the “Lienzo de Xiuhquilan” (“Canvas of Xiuhquilan”) and the “Títulos de Carapan” (“Titles of Carapan”). The exhibition also shows maps that highlight changes to the region after the Spaniards’ incursion and evangelization, as well as supporting visual materials to provide a chronological and geographical context to each historical event. Clothing, furniture and everyday items also form part of the collection.
Historic artefacts include the table on which the Constitution of Apatzingán was signed, a collection of portraits of historical figures such as Vasco de Quiroga, Agustín de Iturbide, Melchor Ocampo, and some governors of the state of Michoacán.
An eighteenth-century oil painting called “Traslado de las monjas catarinas a su nuevo convento” (“Journey of the Nuns of Saint Catherine to their New Convent”), by an anonymous artist, is one of the most popular exhibits due to its portrayal of the city; also worth seeing are the murals by artists such as Alfredo Zalce, the representation of the Conspiracy of Michoacán, and the Jicalán and Carapan oil paintings from the sixteenth century and eighteenth century, respectively.
Morelia, Michoacán, México.
Located near the Cathedral of Morelia and its Plaza de Armas, easily accessed by Avenida Francisco I. Madero, Calle de Allende, or Abasolo.