The Museo de la Cuidad (Calle 58 at Calle 61, tel. 999/923-6869, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Tues.–Fri. and 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Sat. and Sun., free) is a history museum focused on the development of Mérida . Housed in a former colonial church, the exhibits include Maya artifacts, antique weapons and maps, photographs, and various scale models. Signage is in both Spanish and English and staff members happily answer questions.
The Museo de la Canción Yucateca (Calle 57 at Calle 48, tel. 999/923-7224, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun., US$1.50, free Sun.) describes the development of Yucatecan music and its artists. Divided into five areas, the first provides a historical overview of the region’s music, from its beginnings in the late 1800s to present day. The remaining exhibit halls pay homage to Yucatán’s most famous composers, singers, and musicians and contain portraits, instruments, and some personal belongings. Signage, unfortunately, is only in Spanish. The museum also hosts a free concert once a month; the featured music is dedicated to Yucatecan musicians born in that month.
Pinacoteca del Estado Juan Gamboa Guzmán (Calle 59 between Calles 58 and 60, tel. 999/924-5233, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Tues.–Sat. and 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun., US$2.25) is located in an annex to an abandoned Jesuit church, El Jésus. Known today as Tercera Orden, it houses mostly religious works of art from the colonial period though it also has a handful of paintings by the famous Yucatecan artist Juan Gamboa Guzmán and bronze statutes by Enrique Gottidiener, an influential Mexican artist who lived and died in Mérida. The building itself is beautiful to wander in, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to sneak a peek into the dilapidated church itself.
Despite being inaugurated in 1987, the Museo de Historia Natural (Calle 59 between Calles 84 and 84-A, tel. 999/924-0994, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tues.–Sun., US$0.50, free Sun.) looks as if its exhibits were mounted in the early 1970s and haven’t been touched since. Nevertheless, the museum does a decent job of explaining the basics of the solar system and the development of Earth. Signage, unfortunately, is in Spanish only.
Conkal, a small town a few minutes northeast of Mérida, is home to the religious art museum, Museo de Arte Sacro en Yucatán (behind the church in the central plaza, tel. 999/912-4198, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun., free). Opened in 2001, this museum is housed in a beautifully renovated ex-convent and while its permanent collection of sacred art is far from impressive, it often has excellent visiting exhibits. Call or check with the tourist office in Mérida before you head out.