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All about Museo Casa Montejo in Mérida, Mexico

Updated: April 6, 2024

Main Category: Museums

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Author: Tobias

The museum was the home from Don Francisco de Montejo – conqueror of Yucatán and founder of the city of Mérida. Museo Casa Montejo in Mérida, Mexico is about 2km away from Casa Loltún. It is located in the city center of Mérida. You walk a bit longer, but you can easily get there on foot.

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Address:

Museo Casa Montejo, Calle 63, Centro, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexiko

Website:

Category:

Museum

Phone:

+52 999 253 6732

Distance:

2km from Casa Loltún

Travel Time:

Within the city

Admission:

No entry fee

Price Level:

-

Since:

1540

Google Rating:

average rating is 4.6 out of 5, based on 2330 votes, Ratings

Opening Hours:

• Monday: Closed
• Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
• Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
• Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
• Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
• Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
• Sunday: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

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Museo Casa Montejo

Museo Casa Montejo is a restored home from Don Francisco de Montejo – the conqueror of Yucatán and founder of the city of Mérida. It dates from 1540 and was the house of Francisco de Montejo the Younger (in Spanish "El Mozo" - the Younger).


It is perhaps the oldest building in Mérida. Although the house was rebuilt in 1850, there are many original furnishings and direct descendants of the Montejo family lived here until 1978.


Four rooms (a dining room, a living room, an office and a bedroom) are housing a permanent exhibition of renovated Victorian, neo-rococo and neo-renaissance furnishings of the historic building.


Furthermore, there are three rooms with changing art exhibitions. The Casa Montejo Museum is very easy to find, as it is located directly on the southern side at the Plaza Grande - the opposite side of the Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Yucatán.


Free guided tours and tips


Admission to the Museo Casa Montejo is completely free and there are also free daily guided tours through the museum's rooms. It is best to check the schedule on site, as times may change.


There is also a book and souvenir store on site if you would like a souvenir. All information is displayed in English and Spanish. Please note: The Casa Museo Montejo is not fully wheelchair or stroller accessible.


To escape Mérida's sweltering afternoon heat, consider visiting the air-conditioned museum around midday. Alternatively, for a quieter (less crowded) experience, opt for an evening visit. Weekends tend to be generally busier compared to weekdays.


Inside Museo Casa Montejo
Inside the museum

The building


The house was built in the Renaissance style and is an important example of colonial architecture. It symbolises the power and influence of the Montejo family during the colonial era.


In 1981, the National Bank of Mexico acquired and restored the building and set up offices. Between 2007 and 2010, the building was restored again and a cultural center and the museum were established. It was opened to the public at the end of 2010 by the Fomento Cultural Banamex, A.C.


The outside of the building features plateresque, an ornate surface decoration that was common in the early years of Spain’s Golden Age and has been preserved original until today. The facade paints a clear picture of the self-image of the Spanish conquerors at that time.


The two lions on the upper pediment are holding the coat of arms from the Montejo family. The two disproportionately large Spanish soldiers with their halberds stand on the heads of the losers.


The front of the house
The front of the house

The Montejo family


The Francisco de Montejo, father and son, were instrumental in the military conquest and colonisation of the Yucatan, including the city of Mérida.


Francisco de Montejo, the elder, also known as "El Adelantado", led the first expedition in 1527 and conquered parts of the peninsula. His son, Francisco de Montejo the Younger, continued the conquest and founded the city of Mérida in 1542.


While Francisco de Montejo the Elder carried out most of the conquest, his son helped to consolidate Spanish rule. The city of Mérida was founded as an administrative centre and quickly developed into an important commercial and cultural hub.


Despite their efforts, however, the colonisation of Yucatan was resisted by the Maya for a long time. By 1570, only around 200 Spanish settlers were counted in Mérida, highlighting the challenges of colonisation.


Colonisation brought enormous changes for the indigenous population. Many were enslaved or forcibly assimilated, while their traditional ways of life and religious beliefs were suppressed. This oppression led to numerous uprisings and conflicts.


The Francisco de Montejo left behind a complex legacy in the Yucatan. Their contribution to the conquest and colonisation had a lasting impact on the history of the region and continues to influence it to this day.


The Montejo house remains a symbol of this history and a reminder of the power and influence of the Spanish conquistadors.


The ghosts of the Montejo family


One of the many ghost stories in Mérida is of course about the Casa Montejo. There are reports of paranormal activity in the Casa Montejo, especially involving the Montejo family.


In particular, Francisco de Montejo the Elder and his son Francisco de Montejo the Younger are said to repeatedly appear as ghosts (or shadows) dressed in period clothing and wandering around the house.


Others have only heard mysterious noises, footsteps or voices of the Montejo family when they were alone in the rooms of the house.


There have also been reports at Casa de Montejo of sudden drops in temperature manifesting in various places in the building, and some staff and visitors believe that ghosts are taking away objects and put them back in other places in the house.


Image Source (interior photo): ©Travel4Brews, flickr, CC BY 2.0, Link

The picture was modified (image improvements, resized)

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