Museums in Oaxaca are considered one of the jewels of Mexico where you will learn about the rich pre-Hispanic history and art origins of the Oaxacan culture. Here are the Oaxaca Museums that you shouldn’t miss when in town!
Oaxaca Museums are one of the reasons why I moved to Oaxaca City. As a museum geek, I always see to it that I live in cities that are culturally rich and represent the history of a culture that I am trying to blend into.
Luckily, Oaxaca is not lacking in this department. In this best museums in Oaxaca list, you will find pre-hispanic museums, art museums, and museums that focus on Oaxacan culture.
Browse the list and let me know what is your personal favorite!
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🗺️ Best museums in Oaxaca map
Oaxaca City is not a big city so you’ll be able to walk easily from one museum to another. You can open the map in full view (on Google maps) for you to have an idea how far these museums in Oaxaca from your accommodation.
🎨 Art museums in Oaxaca
#1: Museo de Los Pintores Oaxaqueños (MUPO)
What is it: The Museo de Los Pintores Oaxaqueños (MUPO) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the work of contemporary Oaxacan artists.
It not only preserves the history of these artists but also provides a space for their creations. Located in the heart of Oaxaca’s historic center in an old mansion, this museum was founded by art collector Florencio Garcia Vigil and his wife, Mónica Gómez Fuentes, who was committed to introducing Oaxacan art to the world.
Why go here: One of the museums that highlight the dedication of contemporary Oaxacan artists. They have diverse graphic art from regional, national, and state levels which were richly preserved.
#2: Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca
📍 C. Macedonio Alcalá 202
⛔ Temporarily closed
What is it: A house built in the 1700s with 14 exhibition halls, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca showcases contemporary Mexican art and crafts.
The museum presents rotating exhibitions of photography, paintings, and sculptures by artists such as Rufino Tamayo, Rodolfo Nieto, and Rodolfo Morales. In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Museo also hosts temporary exhibitions and cultural events in both English and Spanish.
Why go here: The museum features permanent and rotating exhibitions by some of Mexico’s most well-known artists. Art lovers can also take advantage of its cultural activities such as conferences, round tables, concerts, and book presentations.
#3: Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca
What is it: The Cultural Center “Francisco Toledo” or “Institute of Graphic Arts of Oaxaca”, is a symbol of Mexican art, which has been the source of artistic talents and a provider of a rich cultural life.
Why go here: One of the best institutes that are currently a multidisciplinary center of research and artistic training.
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🏛️Cultural museums in Oaxaca
#4: Museo Estatal de Arte Popular de Oaxaca
What is it: Guests to the Museo Estatal de Arte Popular de Oaxaca not only marvel at exhibits of indigenous huipils, barro negro pottery and metalwork, they also get a chance to meet and talk with local artisans.
Why go here: Metaphorically, the MEAPO is not just a museum, but the home of our culture. The collection, although small, is truly representative of the state’s outstanding and unique artistic tradition. Each piece bears witness to the lives and struggles of our ancestors, through their hands —and through ours as well.
#5: Manuel Jimenez El Tallador De Sueños
What is it: The museum workshop of Manuel Jimenez El Taller de Sueños, is a space dedicated to the production and exposition of Fantastic Animal Wood Carvings “Alebrijes”.
Why go here: Don Manuel Jiménez Ramírez, creator of the Wood Carvings “Alebrijes” lived in this place since 1927, in San Antonio Arrazola. There is an extensive collection of works, publications, and documentaries by Don Manuel Jiménez.
#6: Casa Cultura
What is it: With a diverse cultural agenda and an incredible art collection, Casa Cultura is one of the most important spaces in Oaxaca.
The goal of Casa is to be able to promote artistic and cultural manifestations through the dissemination and promotion of teaching and activities that promote free cultural expression, stimulating creative, research, scientific, literary, and artistic work.
Why go here: One of the non-profit organizations that promote artistic and cultural manifestations through the dissemination of teaching, encouraging and facilitating creative and literary work beyond the expectations of quality.
#7: Museo del Palacio Espacio de la Diversidad
📍Plaza de la Constitución, S/N
⛔ Temporarily closed
What is it: This museum offers to learn the cultures of Oaxaca in an interactive way. There are hands-on activities and interactive experiences that travelers of all ages can enjoy.
Why go here: A unique experience of Mexico’s cultural diversity and historical identity, so that visitors become not just spectators but participants in the learning process.
#8: Instituto Oaxaqueño de las Artesanias (ARIPO)
What is it: ARIPO is a center for showcasing, promoting, and selling crafts made by artisans from the state of Oaxaca. This store is located in the historic center of Oaxaca City, where more than 9,000 pieces are sold each year.
Why go here: For many years, Aripo was abandoned and neglected, but it was until 2017, in the administration of Alejandro Murat, it was reopened with worthy facilities to show the beauty of Oaxacan folk art. It is more than an exhibition center since it supports more than 9,000 artisan pieces sold in 2021 for approximately 11 million pesos.
#9: Museo Textil de Oaxaca
What is it: Learn about the textiles in Museo Textil de Oaxaca, including some of the more famous ones like huipils and rebozos. The exhibits are amazing and touch on many textile traditions from many regions of Mexico.
This museum is free so you can go in every day and admire your favorite garments or weavings. Most of the info is in Spanish so a bit of translating is necessary.
Why go here: Museo Textil de Oaxaca is one of the best museums that highlights and focus on textile, rebozos, clothing, and fabrics.
Themed selections from its stock of around 10,500 Oaxacan and international textile pieces, many of them a century or more old, are always in sight.
#10: Museo Belber
What is it: Museo Belber is a unique museum dedicated to the preservation of Mexican artisanal traditions. Located in the historic center of Oaxaca City, it displays Pre-Columbian and Colonial artworks, as well as some remarkable pieces from contemporary designers. With a focus on historical jewelry and metalwork, the museum is divided into three main areas.
Why go here: This is one of the most interesting museums that specialize in different variety of art such as jewelry and metal works. If you love textiles and appreciate the beauty of typical Oaxaca garments, you will love this museum.
#11: Museo De La Filatelia
What is it: If you have a passion for stamps and surrealist art, then Museo de la Filatelia is the museum for you! Featuring more than 50,000 pieces, including a Penny Black and complete collections of stamps produced in Mexico since 1856, this unique museum offers visitors a fascinating view into the history of philately.
Why go here: Museo De La Filatelia is a museum in Oaxaca City that contains the world’s largest stamp collection. This unique museum is dedicated to stamps and surrealist art. You can look up stamp collections in many countries.
#12: Museo Infantil de Oaxaca
What is it: The Museo Infantil de Oaxaca (or MIO) is a children’s museum, cultural center, and library that aims to educate youth about Mexican history through hands-on activities.
Founded in 2003 by the Alfredo Harp Helú Foundation, its building was formerly an old railroad station and houses an array of brightly colored rooms dedicated to local history and culture.
The museum also features workshops for kids as well as space for cultural events like Christmas caroling and art exhibitions.
Why go here: The Children’s Museum of Oaxaca, known locally as MIO, is a cultural center known for children that work to awaken interest in caring for their natural and cultural heritage. It does this through art workshops, events, and a library in a former train station.
📜 History museums in Oaxaca
#13: Museo de Sitio Casa Juárez
What is it: The home of famous Mexican president Benito Juárez, this museum is housed in a 19th-century house where he lived during his childhood.
This simple house was the home of Antonio Salanueva, a bookbinder who supported Juárez throughout his youth. Salanueva’s binding workshop is preserved, along with Benito’s memorabilia and period artifacts.
Why go here: If you are fascinated with Mexican history, this little museum is worth seeing. The home of Mexico’s great 19th-century president is a one-building museum now, with a few period items and lots of memorabilia associated with this legendary leader. It was fascinating to learn more about his childhood and young adult years in Oaxaca!
#14: Ex Convento de San Pablo
What is it: The Convento de San Pablo is not just a museum, but also a cultural center that has handcraft workshops and conferences throughout the year.
It has four traditional art galleries with changing exhibitions on display, and a permanent library dedicated to the preservation of native languages.
Why go here: Considered one of the most important works of contemporary architecture in Oaxaca, this cultural center is the heart of the city. With concerts, workshops, and conferences, founded by Alfredo Harp Helu, it is an essential part of the city.
It also houses four traditional art galleries with installations that change every few months and a permanent library dedicated to the preservation of native languages.
#15: Museo Pedagogico de Arquitectura El Quinto Sol
What is it: Pedagogical Museum of Architecture El Quinto Sol is one of the places that has become one of the most relevant in the daily life of the city.
It is a place to explore, enjoy and understand architecture through its various expressions: from urbanism to interior design. Its aim is to show how people live differently and create new ways of doing things.
Why go here: For anyone who loves architecture and design, Museo Pedagogico de Arquitectura El Quinto Sol is one of the places in the “Places of Cultural Interest” section that has become one of the most relevant places in the daily life of the city.
🏺 Archaeology museums in Oaxaca
#16: Museo de Monte Alban
What is it: Open since 1994, the Monte Albán Museum offers visitors an overview of the history of this pre-Hispanic city. Its theme begins with the discovery and exploration of the area through stories of travelers, including those who visited since the 19th century.
Visitors can see a model of how the city was founded on the mountainous massif and learn more about its main characteristics; they can also learn about various facets relating to trade and funerary practices as well as how its writing system developed over time.
Why go here: This is one of the best museums that give an overview of both the history and the cultural importance of Monte Alban, a pre-Hispanic Zapotec city in southern Mexico.
#17: Museo de Arte Prehispánico de México
What is it: The Museo de Arte Prehispánico de México is the place to go if you want to learn about the rich histories of Native American peoples.
The museum displays include pre-Columbian sculpture, ceramics, and jewelry; there are also galleries for temporary exhibitions. On-site concerts and lectures complement the experience of exploring Mexico’s cultural centuries past.
Why go here: One of the museums that’s housed in an elegant, colonial-style building whose two floors are dedicated to the collection’s unique artworks, which were acquired through private donations.
✈️ Ready for your trip to Oaxaca City? If you need more information about the best Oaxaca museums, we’d be happy to update this post – just leave your questions in the comment box or join our social media communities below where we answer questions for FREE.
🇲🇽 Oaxaca Travel Resources
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- 🚌 Oaxaca bus transportation: book bus tickets online to and from Oaxaca. Search BusBud Oaxaca for instant booking confirmation.
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- 🏨 Oaxaca Hotels: There are affordable boutique hotels in Oaxaca from US$35. Check out Booking.com Oaxaca for great deals.
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Trisha traveled to Mexico in 2018 and after a year, she found herself obtaining a 4-year residency visa in Mexico. She is the Editor-in-chief for our Living in Mexico Series which has helped over 3,000 Americans move to Mexico with ease. Trisha currently resides in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur.