Museum of Memory and Tolerance

While Mexico City purportedly has the highest number of museums of any major city in the world, the Museum of Tolerance interested me because of its unusual topic. I was exhausted by the depth and quality of the exhibits and hope you will have a chance to visit it. More than half of the museum is devoted to the Holocaust–its development, the participants, the process, and the statistics.

There were a significant group of Jewish, Eastern European, and Russian emigres who ended up in Mexico before and after the war, just like those who came to the US. The initial exhibit defined what a genocide meant. As the exhibits progressed, more reflective time was needed for visitors to digest the information. The museum designer provided a meditation room and window views to the large interior atrium, that was decorated with a huge tree weblike sculpture. The window slots provided a framed view of the tree sculpture and provided a necessary visual and mental relief from the subject matter.

No museum can ever succeed in conveying the weight of such a heavy topic, but I felt more emotionally informed after this visit. The second half of the exhibits recorded the many variations of genocides that have occurred since WWII until now, in an attempt to prevent repeating history by informing others. The building was designed by Ricardo Legorreta.

Photos, from top, left to right:
1. Introductory Exhibit
2. Atrium Sculpture
3. Window slot at end of Holocaust exhibit, with a view of atrium sculpture.

2 thoughts on “Museum of Memory and Tolerance”

    1. David, as a matter of fact, the very next exhibit after the Holocaust addressed the Armenian genocide. Apparently the word genocide was defined in part by this event. I stared at the map At the exhibit showing Eastern Turkey for quite some time, learning that the Armenians were striving for independence from the Ottoman Empire and were annihilated for their cause. I was pondering how and when the border of Azerbaijian came into being. I recalled how I first heard about the genocide from my friend Peter in Hong Kong.

      This museum has had a profound effect on me. I came back and googled it as I prepared to post my visit there, finding that if you enter “Museum of Tolerance” you end up at one in LA. I didn’t know there was one there and subconsciously registered a future trip in the back of my mind. Initially I was searching for who had designed the building but that information not readily available. I wandered into Trip Advisor reviews of the museum and discovered that everyone was affected by it in a similar way to my experience. The consensus is that the museum is very effective and outstanding.

      The defined genocides presented not only included Armenia but recounted Dafur, Bosnia and Guatemala among others. The statistics presented were astounding. It was a profound experience and helped me to be much more aware of the current events that eventually become historical ones and often forgotten. I guess that’s why the museum includes Memory as a key part of its message.

      For the record, here’s a couple of interesting finds in my brief research on the museum in M.C.:

      http://memoriaytolerancia.org (goes to a concise PDF summary of the museum exhibits and goals for the museum)
      http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Holocaust-museum-in-Mexico...(our local SF paper article explaining what the museum is briefly)
      http://www.topboxdesign.com/museum-of-memory-and-tolerance-in...(the description of the design of the building and who designed it)
      If the links don’t work you can go to Yahoo and enter Museum of Tolerance Mexico City.

      As an unexpected after-effect from preparing this reply, I suddenly broke down in tears thinking about the information I learned from the museum. I mean a big bawl. I am glad you asked the question. The underlying effect surfaced and I was clearly overwhelmed by it.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s