Xalapa’s cultural scene beckons many scientists and artists. A gem in the city is the Anthropology Museum, begun in 1957 and finished in 1986, and housing close to 30,000 artifacts. Nearly 3,000 are on display in this marble, spacious building. The treasures cover the
three main pre-Hispanic cultures of Veracruz: Huasteca, Totonac, and most important, Olmec. The 18 galleries, 6 rooms and 4 patios have been divided chronologically to more easily show the progression of time and geography. You will find Olmec heads set in verdant courtyards, some of the heads dating back more than 3,000 years. There are ceramics, cremation urns in the forms of bats and monkeys, lovely Totonac murals, and touching life-size sculptures of women who died in childbirth.
Throughout the museum, you will find cards written in English, placed in bins along the walls at the entrances to each gallery, which tell you what you are viewing. I didn’t realize they were there at first, so keep an eye out. You cannot take the card and walk with it, so read it before you enter the particular gallery.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $40 pesos (about $4.00). Sundays are free. Plan a few good hours to see the whole building and surrounding grounds. The gift shop offers many books about Mexican culture, etc., but we found none in English.