Finding a way to properly introduce the Museum of the Mommies was never going to be easy; we’re just going to jump right in. Mexico celebrates death in a way that no other country can. The annual Day of the Dead celebration is just one example of this. Guanajuato is where you will find the museum dedicated to Mummies. There are over 100 naturally mummified human remains on display. These are real people who had stories, lives and families.
Seeing these bodies on display was a somber reminder of what happens to your physical remains after you’re finished with them isn’t going to be up to you. Most of these bodies are the result of a cholera outbreak in the mid-1800s, and the need to dispose of bodies quickly arose. The remains were removed from the ground between 1870 and 1958 because the city implemented a tax that families needed to pay for a permanent burial. The dry climate was well suited to preserve the bodies, and a form of natural mummification occurred. This is why the bodies are still in pretty good shape hundreds of years later.
Central Mexico has some incredible Museums to visit, and this was a weird one that caught our attention. We’re glad we visited as it was a really unique experience. Visiting a museum dedicated to human bodies and death isn’t for everyone. We felt compelled to visit even though we were unsure of what to expect when we arrived. The museum is set up in a very tasteful way that celebrates the ongoing cycle of life and death. It is home to the world’s smallest mummy, as there was a pregnant woman who’s body was removed, and the fetus has survived in a mummified state.
Some time in the late 1800s or early 1900s, tourists began to learn about the bodies on display. The cemetery workers started charging a few pesos for people to visit. It was officially turned into a museum in 1969, known today as El Museo de las Momias. It remains as one of the strangest tourist attractions we’ve been to in Mexico. This was one of the most interesting things we did while we were in Guanajuato and we just had to share.
We have many more stories and pictures from our Central Mexico adventures, so stay tuned for those in the next few weeks.
Please consider yourself warned: some of the images may be graphic for some, so viewer discretion is advised.