About a week ago, we decided to explore Casa Montejo. If you’ve been following along on our blog or our Instagram page, you’ll see we’ve not done much exploring.
We’re Not Tourists
We must keep reminding ourselves that we are not tourists; we live here and have lots of time to explore.
With all of the time and energy invested in closing Mark’s business and Chuck retiring, applying for residency, selling a house, and a huge move, we’ve done nothing but run for nearly the last year.
So, we’d decided to take a few months and CHILL! There’s plenty to do learning how to live like a local. Things like figuring out water delivery, where to shop, and learning how to navigate Merida in the heat are enough for us for a while.
So, Why Explore Casa Montejo?
Casa Montejo is located on the south side of Plaza Grande, not too far from our Airbnb. But, most importantly, we were hearing rumors of its demise.
Earlier this year, according to the Yucatan times, “Citigroup announced that it will close its commercial banking operations in Mexico and put the Banamex brand and license up for sale, so all of Banamex’s cultural heritage would be in the sale package, which includes the Casa de Montejo in Yucatán.”
So, given its significant history in the city of Merida, we knew it was something we wanted to see.
Who are the Montejos?
If you’ve ever been to Merida or heard anything about it, you’ve probably heard of the grand promenade, Paseo de Montejo. It’s often called the Champs-Élysées of Merida. The roadway is dotted with statues and lined with historic mansions from Merida’s heyday. Today there are boutiques and restaurants lining the road. Businesses like Starbucks, museums and bank headquarters are taking over some of the mansions.
All named to honor Francisco de Montejo, Yucatan’s conqueror and founder of Merida.
Casa Montejo was built in the 16th century, beginning in 1540.
The residence of Francisco de Montejo “El Adelantado” was built and inhabited by his son Francisco de Montejo “El Mozo,”Francisco de Montejo “El Mozo,” who was in charge of its construction, decoration, and maintenance.
The home initially housed soldiers but was soon converted into a mansion that was home to members of the Montejo family until the 1800s.
Said to be the only Renaissance-style house in México which has survived throughout its nearly five centuries.
Museo Casa Montejo
The original property had two very separate functions as you entered the building.
The first is a very modern addition at the back of the property housing a Banamex office, where you’ll see locals going about their daily banking business.
The front part of the property houses the Museo Casa Montejo, which has four permanent rooms as part of the on-site museum: the office library, the living room, the bedroom, and the dining room, furnished in the style of the last quarter of the Nineteenth century and first quarter of the Twentieth century in Mexico.
There are also three exhibition halls in which temporary exhibitions will appear that invite artistic appreciation, as well as a program of conferences, concerts, and the work of the Great Masters of Folk Art.
There were two drastically different exhibits being showcased during our visit. One was black and white photographs of churches across Mexico, and the second was more contemporary color photography of local, mostly working-class people.
The Museo also has a beautiful gift shop with books on Mexican folk art and excellent folk art handcrafts. As with many gift shops, we found them to be a bit pricy. We held off buying folk art until we travel around Mexico, where we can purchase pieces from the artisans.
Visiting the Museo Casa Montejo
The museum is located on Calle 63 between Calle 60 and Calle 62 on the south side of Plaza Grande.
Currently, they are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and admission is free.
As we mentioned. There are still rumors that it may be closing. Just no talk of when or what will happen to the beautiful artifacts or historic buildings.