Opened in December 2001, this museum tells the story of the Mennonite colonies of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Mennonites are considered the most numerous of the Christian Protestant denominations known as Anabaptists. Of Central European origin, the group also includes similar groups such as the Amish, and tend to be known for a shunning of several types of modern technology and generally only using modern machinery for essential tasks.
By some estimations, the world’s largest Mennonite population is in Canada, and it is thought that Mexico’s migrated from Manitoba in the 1920s. They are now thought to number around 100,000 (although emigration has lead to a decreasing numbers). A majority of Mexican Mennonites live in Chihuahua, with several colonies established around Ciudad Cuauhtémoc. Neighboring states such as Durango and Coahuila have sizable Mennonite communities as well, with another cultural center in the Yucatán Peninsula.
Ciudad Cuauhtémoc’s Museum and Cultural Center celebrating this community was partly established as an outreach program to educate locals and visitors on the traditions and culture of a group of people often regarded as closed and secretive. Reproducing a traditional Mennonite household, with architectural features such as a tunnel-like hallway dividing the stables and living quarters, the Museum showcases the Mennonites’ approach to technology.
Traditionally made toys, furniture, and agricultural tools and machinery are also featured. The cultural center seeks to highlight the impact this community has had in Mexico with a cafeteria that showcases recipes that use products such as the popular Mexican cheese type known as both queso Chihuahua and queso menonita. Mennonite culture in Mexico has also been showcased in the Cannes Jury Award–winning Plautdietsch-language film Stellet Licht and by the electro-rock band Los Fancy Free, fronted by Martin Thulin, who was born into the Nueva Escandinavia colony in Chihuahua.
Know Before You Go
The Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Entry is MXN $35 per person.