Mexico City: Diego’s artifact castle

We drove around for a while looking for Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli. We were tired, having already explored the town of Coyoacan and Frida’s Casa Azul. I was okay with missing this one museum, if it meant no more babies in car seats and no more wrong turns on heavy traffic streets. But Rodrigo persisted; I couldn’t leave Mexico City without seeing everything — even if it meant arguing with other drivers, like the one in the VW bus taxi who finally realized there was no way he was going to fit in between the half inch that separated us from other cars in every direction.

Finally, down a residential street, we found parking in a tow yard where people were practicing juggling. The lot would close in half an hour. We hurried across the street to the museum.

Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli is both amazing and eerie with its unique architecture and dark volcanic rock walls. Rivera built Anahuacalli to house his large collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts and to share history and culture with the Mexican people.

Inside, the museum is cold and dark, and at first, made me imagine a dungeon. It’s not a place I expected to be built by the artist known for his colorful political murals. There are more than 60,000 artifacts in the museum, most of which Diego collected on travels or bought on the black market. Many of the pieces are gods that were buried with people and later dug up (and sold to Rivera or traded for a piece of art).

Rivera used to spend a lot of time at Anahuacalli, holding parties and just being alone. Called “the house of energy,” Rivera would have seances on the ground floor. Now, it’s a circular table in a dark corridor where children play with sand.

Though impressive, I couldn’t stop thinking about the eeriness of the place: How Diego could spend so much time here, why are the images so dark, why so many snakes, what is connected to those gods that were once buried?

Enjoy these photos from the museum, and please, let me know what you think. Have a great day.

An exhibit of new works were outside the museum.

The seance area where children now play with sand.

View from the top:

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7 Responses to Mexico City: Diego’s artifact castle

  1. Rivera is one of my favorites. He really captures the heart, soul and sweat of a people. I had no idea the he was so active in collecting and preserving artifacts. The museum architecture is the way one should appear
    instead of the seeming clinical lab displays that so many museums employ. As a retired history teacher I appreciate this history lesson.

  2. mairedubhtx says:

    Riviera was a strange man so I would expect this house to be odd, to say the least. I loved the mosaics.

  3. jen howell says:

    I am so jealous! what an experience! 🙂

  4. Wow…..I continue to be amazed at your talents. These haunting pics stole my heart. So glad I can share in your world thru your photos…a real gift. Bravo.

  5. That place does give me the creeps, although I enjoy the bits of artwork that were visible and the odd-shaped doorways. I can’t imagine spending any time there at night though. But they always say geniuses are crazy!

  6. Ay Dios Mio! Such beautiful photography! Thank you so much for posting these images, they are spectacular. Diego was a genius and his legacy should not be understated. I have decided to re-blog this over at You should stop by and check out my writing on famous Mexican art, I would love to get you feedback!

    Do you have a Twitter?


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