Located in the city of Puebla and housed in two colonial-era buildings, the Amparo Museum (Museo Amparo), despite its smaller size, is one of Mexico’s most important archeological museums—and sadly also one of the least-visited.
The museum holds a superb collection of historic artifacts from many of Mesoamerica’s indigenous civilizations, such as the Maya, Aztecs, Zapotecs, and Olmecs, and many more besides. Here you can see Mayan stelae depicting the mythological story of the creation of the world; sculptures of rabbit-headed scribe gods; stone representations of Totonac gods of death; ceramic statues of powerful Zapotec lords; and numerous Aztec sculptures of animals like Xoloitzcuintle dogs, spider monkeys, jaguars, coyotes, and snakes.
But the pre-Hispanic collections are not the only thing to see here. There are also artifacts from Mexico’s colonial and post-colonial past, such as baroque portraits of Catholic saints and Spanish/Criollo aristocrats; ornate ornaments and furniture; and handpainted retablos of miracles that are over a hundred years old.
At the top of the museum, on its roof terrace, there is a very nice restaurant and cafe with views over the city, where you can sit and relax after having observed all of the wonders the museum has to see. If you find yourself in Puebla, this little treasure trove of a museum is well worth a visit.
Know Before You Go
The Amparo Museum is open on weekdays (except Tuesdays, when it is closed) and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The regular entrance fee is $35 pesos but it is free to visit on Mondays and Sundays. The museum is easily found as it's located just a couple minutes from the historic center of Puebla and is signposted.