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Controversy over the new museum for the mummies of Guanajuato: "This project cannot be in a declared World Heritage site"


The work has been questioned by the authorities of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, by UNESCO in Mexico and by the International Council on Monuments and Sites.

“Modern, functional and that provides a unique experience to visitors.

It will have a wide and comfortable access to the ticket offices, a commercial area with 53 stores, an auditorium, cafeteria and 12 large exhibition halls, as well as a souvenir shop”.

This is how the municipal government of Guanajuato announced the new Mummies Museum (MUMO), a project promoted since 2019 by Mayor Alejandro Navarro Saldaña, in the protection zone of the Historic City of Guanajuato, declared a World Heritage Site in 1988. After presenting the project, Navarro Saldaña reported that an investment of 200 million pesos was required to promote one of the main attractions of the place.

On December 6, 2021, the UNESCO representative in Mexico, Frédéric Vacheron,

On February 14, 2022, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) detected deterioration in the mummified bodies, for which it announced an intervention to "restore their identity and dignity to each of the mummified bodies."

Now, the representation in Mexico of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos), a UNESCO consultative body, warned that the project of the new Mummies Museum and its commercial area, promoted by the Mayor's Office of Guanajuato, puts the declaration at risk. of that City as Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and recommended redefining the proposal.

Render of the exterior of the new museum, the 'MUMO', planned to exhibit the mummies of Guanajuato

"This architectural project cannot be at the core of a World Heritage site," claims the president of Icomos, Saúl Alcántara Onofre, in an interview with EL PAÍS.

“The proposal that the municipality has has nothing to do with the historical aspect, with the palimpsest of the city;

the evolution of the urban landscape, of historical and artistic monuments.

It does not have a reference in terms of the universal value that this site holds.

It is misrepresenting the integrity of the place.

This preliminary project is of an anodyne architecture that does not contribute at all to the site”, says Alcántara Onofre in the letter addressed to the mayor of Guanajuato, Alejandro Navarro and with a copy for the president Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the governor of Guanajuato, Diego Sinhue Rodríguez Vallejo,

On August 9, 2021, the City Council approved the public debt request for 69 million 993,000 pesos for its construction.

The debt request was endorsed by the Congress of Guanajuato on September 13, 2021. That day, activists protested naked outside Congress rejecting the project.

“More than a museum is a

shopping mall

that will have mummies as an attractive anchor, accused activists, archaeologists and historians.

"Commodify bodies only for profit," they said.

“The mummies will be displayed on 24% of the building's surface.

On the first floor there would be 53 commercial premises, which reflects the true vocation of the property.

Clearly the exhibition of human remains would be destined to produce money.

That is the most aggravating”, said Paloma Robles, councilor of Guanajuato.

Led by Paloma Robles Lacayo @horizonterio, former director of the @MuseoMomiasGto and councilor elected by #MORENA, a group of people went to the @CongresoGto to demonstrate against the debt for the new Mummies Museum.

– Alex Ramblas⚡️ (@alexramblasr) September 13, 2021

“We proposed to the mayor to form an advisory council of experts from INAH, INBAL, scientific committees, the Federation of Colleges of Architects and even the city chronicler so that they could form good terms of reference associated with exceptional universal values ​​in a heritage context like this.

What they propose is as if a building were built in Santa Fe or Cuajimalpa or anywhere, and a parking lot and stores like any shopping center,” denounces the president of Icomos, in an interview with this newspaper.

“We are in all disposition to support the initiative, but if it comes to an analysis and deep studies of the landscape, of the historical framework.

We proposed that the new construction could be joined with Santa Paula and the old museum, through an ecological corridor.

“We signed the issue of public debt 15 days ago, not a single peso has been spent until it is awarded to the work.

It urges me because steel is rising a lot in price, just like glass, and in that sense a large part of the new museum is glass, steel and cement.

We have a March date, we are waiting for the first days of May at the latest to start building”, declared the mayor on March 28, 2022.

The @CongresoGto has approved the budget for the construction of the new International Mummies Museum with 32 votes in favor.

Thanks to each and everyone, together we are building #ElGuanajuatoQueQuéMujer, thinking big and with a cutting-edge vision.#GuanajuatoCapital

– Alejandro Navarro (@ANavarroMX) September 13, 2021

“We recommend redefining the project, not as a New Mummies Museum and its Commercial Zone, but as an Interpretation Center of Funerary Practices in Mexico, in correspondence with the compatibility of the land use of the core zone of the World Heritage site.

The intervention must contribute to safeguarding the heritage, aesthetic, landscape, historical, artistic and symbolic values ​​of the urban landscape, predominantly the Outstanding Universal Value and the attributes of authenticity and integrity.

The proposal must be linked with ecological infrastructure to the Santa Paula Museum and Pantheon, be located in neighboring properties without compromising the current ones, while promoting the integration of sustainable public spaces, as well as integrating with order and harmony in the historical-artistic urban plot.

The bodies are being analyzed by researchers from the National Institute of Anthropology of History (INAH)Andrea Murcia (Andrea Murcia)

In the course of just over 100 years, the naturally mummified bodies in the Santa Paula cemetery were exhumed for display, lost the clothing that covered them and did not receive special care for their conservation, resulting in their deterioration.

They were also stripped of their identity, so that their names have been replaced by nicknames that the popular imagination assigned them:

the drowned man, the Chinese woman or the witch.

These mummified bodies have acquired a high tourist value for the city of Guanajuato, leaving in the background that they are bodies of people who had a name, an age, who had and, perhaps, still have a family.

Currently, the INAH is working on a research project to restore its identity and, with it, dignify each of the bodies, an act that has become a priority need to grant heritage value and highlight its relevance for the knowledge and memory of the past. of Mexico and the world.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2022-07-02

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