100 Museums to Visit Before You Die

National Museum of Anthropology

Location: Mexico City

The Museo Nacional de Antropologia located in Mexico City is a modern temple to the amazing Mesoamerican cultures of the past. The building was designed by Pedro Ramirez Vasques and is the centerpiece of the Chapultepec museum district. The materiality of the building holds with it a great deal of symbolism, which adds another layer of poetry onto the space.

On another note, the museum was also the unfortunate victim of the single largest theft of precious objects from a museum. On Christmas Eve in 1985, a number of robbers entered the museum and removed several sheets of glass from seven showcases and had removed the 140 items within. Of the 140 items stolen were jade and gold pieces from the Maya, Aztec, Zapotec, and Miztec cultures. An article from the Los Angeles Times following the heist interviewed the museum's spokesman who described the robbers as stealing the "best ones (objects) from each culture." Just one of the pieces stolen from the collection was estimated to be worth approximately $20 million. Regardless of the famous heist, the Museo Nacional de Antopologia still cares for the largest collection of pre-Columbian artifacts in the world.

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