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“Charming little spot in Merida”

Casa Frederick Catherwood
Ranked #63 of 115 things to do in Merida
Attraction details
Reviewed November 13, 2013

What a lovingly restored property! A nice little find in the city dedicated to Catherwood's Mayan depictions. The store had some really great items too. Glad I went! Across from an authentic Mexican farmer's market too, where we picked up great some great local food as well.

1  Thank JenB101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (24)
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10 - 14 of 24 reviews

Reviewed February 19, 2013

Catherwood did the illustrations for Steven's books in the 1840s. This small museum on the 2nd floor of a lovely house contains a set of his later colored etchings. If you are a fan of the books, these are terrific. First floor has a surprisingly nice, upscale, gift shop,and you can purchase nice smaller copies of the etchings. A true hidden gem.

1  Thank JR M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 16, 2013

A fantastic little museum of just over 20 of Catherwood's etchings, with accompanying insightful commentary from contemporary anthropologists/archaeologists. The etchings are a rare snapshot from a lost time, lending a romantic, nostalgic air to ruins that today can seem a little too tidy and neatly packaged for tourists.

Visit the museum after the ruins to compare the etchings with your memories, and marvel at how much has changed.

Thank KateLThomas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 19, 2012

This hard-to-find museo is on the south side of calle 59, about 4 doors west of calle 72 (by Santiago Park, where they have big-band music Tuesday nights). There's construction on both sides of the street (December 2012), all of the buildings are getting major facelifts. The website says admission is free, but that's to the cafe and gift shop, not the exhibits. Anyway, the 50 peso fee is a pittance - about the price of a beer.

The dude in the giftshop is a sourpuss, probably because he often gets cussed out over the skimpy exhibits, which are just framed lithographs taken out of Catherwood's magnum opus, in two otherwise empty rooms. The rooms are very hot because of the layout which prevents any airflow, and the gift shop dude only turns on the air conditioning when he gets a customer.

Having said that, this is a must-see for anyone who wants to learn a bit about Mayan art and architecture. A number of enthusiasts have written pretty detailed and informative descriptions about each exhibit, contained in a low-budget brochure of photocopied pages on a chair by the door.

But the seemingly amateurish atmosphere of this place is what gives it charm. The people who put it together are true lovers of Mayan culture. And the little bits of information in the brochure are pure gold. I've spent a lot of time studying Mayan art, and I think I'm justified in saying that this is the best place in the world to get a good grasp of that fabulous culture in less than an hour. I wouldn't trade it for the Guggenheim.

The only sour note for me (and hopefully only for me) is the use of CE for dating in some of the descriptions. I can't stand the use of this anti-Christian terminology (which probably would have offended Catherwood) because it reeks of the Frankfurt School sophistry that places moral issues far above the truth. I'm glad the Spanish translation doesn't use it.

Thank E R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2012

It's not that I mind paying 50mn but if it's advertised as free, that's what it should be. The cranky man told me it's always been 50mn. And yet the Tourist Office told me it was free (they checked the website too)
Could be a case of free for Mexicans but foreigners pay.

1  Thank Lynne Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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