With almost 150 years of history, the Mummies of Guanajuato have become a part of our culture and traditions as a people settled on the slopes of a large ravine that has generously produced the riches of its innards since the age of Spanish viceroyalty.
In 1865 the first mummified body that lay in the Santa Paula Pantheon was extracted, and as the years go by, other bodies are discovered in the same condition due to the characteristics of the soil in which they rested. At present more than one hundred mummies make up the inventory of the museum created in their honor.
The wonder aroused by the mummies has been the inspiration for countless films starring Mexican wrestling heroes, and in the 1970s these films introduced other countries to the image of these stiffened bodies. In 2007 the Municipal Government redesigned the old Mummy Museum’s exhibits thematically, and with an infrastructure suitable for this exhibition which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
The Mummies of Guanajuato are totally incorporated into the culture of Guanajuato’s inhabitants; from both a historical and social standpoint, they represent the different stages that have allowed this city to reinforce its position today as an important domestic tourist destination. Conserving and enlarging the cultural heritage associated with the mummies’ legacy has also been the object of painstaking scientific studies carried out by American specialists in forensics and anthropology.
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These scientists have performed studies on mummies in other parts of the world, and in Guanajuato they are applying advanced techniques that will result in the enrichment of museum archives since it may be possible to learn possible causes of death, approximate ages, social environment and even the facial reconstruction of the mummified bodies.
The Mummies are part of Guanajuato’s Heritage and for this reason we conserve, preserve and share them with the visitors that come to our city in search of them. Dr. Eduardo Romero Hicks, Mayor of Guanajuato
Located south of Trozado Hill, the Santa Paula Municipal Pantheon
was opened on March 13, 1861 and although it was not yet finished, it began operations on this date.
The Santa Paula Pantheon is a magical place with a mysterious atmosphere, and the beauty of its niches, tombs and mausoleums transport us in time and space, capturing the imagination of the wary and incredulous visitor. From its belly come the mummified bodies that are exhibited in the Mummy Museum of Guanajuato.
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On June 9, 1865, to the amazement of the gravediggers, the mummified body of Remigio Leroy, a French doctor, was exhumed from Niche 214 of the Pantheon’s first series. This is the first and therefore the most ancient of the Guanajuato Mummy Museum’s collection. In the early days, visits to the catacombs of the Santa Paula Pantheon to observe the mummified bodies were informal and clandestine, a practice based on the growing interest of tourists who were attracted by mysticism and curiosity.
Today the Mummy Museum of Guanajuato exhibits more than 100 mummies that have been found in the Santa Paula Pantheon and are an attraction for the City of Guanajuato. The exhibition has an introductory video about the meaning of death for Mexicans and their way of accepting it. The Mummy Museum is a must-see for those wishing to learn more about the city’s most important attractions.
The Mummies have generated great worldwide interest in visiting them and researching the reasons for mummification, which as opposed to other mummies in the world, are conserved through a natural process.
111 bodies of mummified women, men and children make up the collection of Guanajuato’s Mummy Museum. Exhumed between 1865 and 1989.
Throughout its existence, the Mummy Museum of Guanajuato has undergone few modifications to its facilities, but on March 21, 2007 it was reopened after a substantial renovation. It’s important to note that the modification and renovation of museum space was completed in fewer than 60 hours, signifying a true challenge for the workers of Guanajuato, who through the initiative of the mayor, Dr. Eduardo Romero Hicks, successfully carried out the task of preserving and promoting the heritage of the City of Guanajuato.
Theater: The Museum’s Introductory Video. “Historic, Artistic”: Origins of the museum and some important artists whose work is centered on the Mummies of Guanajuato.
Recreating Origins: Reconstruction of the way in which the mummified bodies were exhibited since the second half of the 19th Century.
Voices of the Dead: Some of the collection’s most representative constituents tell us their story.
Little Angels: Baby mummies, dressed according to the “Little Angels” tradition.
Image Studies: Studies performed on the mummified bodies of a man and woman. Interesting findings.
Tragic Deaths: People whose lives were cut short by alarming events.
Typical Clothing: Mummies who were buried in typical clothing.
Mother and Child: The Museum’s most important piece is kept in this hall: The World’s Smallest Mummy.
Santa Paula: Reconstruction of the Pantheon’s niches that the Museum’s mummies were extracted from, and exhibition of bodies from the collection’s different stages.
Coffins: Here you’ll see what the Museum’s halls looked like before this year’s renovation.
Two Quinnipiac professors are part of a research team that revealed its research findings from a unique investigation of 22 mummies in Guanajuato.
The press conference was held at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford.
The research team includes Ronald Beckett and Jerry Conlogue, the co-directors of Quinnipiac’s Bioanthropology Research Institute and former hosts of National Geographic’s Mummy Road Show.
The third member of the team is Jerry Melbye, director of the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University.
In May 2007 the three scientists were invited by the mayor of Guanajuato, Dr. Eduardo Romero Hicks, an American-trained medical doctor, to collect as much data as possible from 22 of the 59 mummies now on display at the Mueso de Las Momias. The first of these mummies was found in a mausoleum crypt in Guanajuato in 1896 and the last was removed in 1958.
There were 111 mummies found in this location. This collection represents one of the largest groups of natural mummies on display in the Western Hemisphere. The scientists researched each specimen in detail using the latest technological devices and forensic knowledge.
It is believed that the mummies involved are of people died sometime between 1850 and 1950. The local legend is that these mummies were preserved as a result of the life-preserving sulfur and mineral-rich water of Guanajuato. Mayor Hicks attended the press conference to answer questions about the project, the museum in Guanajuato or these myths.
All of the mummies examined were “common” folk, not royalty, who lived in this working-class silver- mining community. The results shed light on the health and lifestyles of a broad sector of people residing in this ancient village. A fetal mummy, a newborn boy, a man who supposedly hanged and a woman who was rumored to be buried alive were among the cases investigated.
Financial support for the research project was acquired from the government of Guanajuato, research grants from Quinnipiac University School of Health Sciences and from the researchers themselves.
Museo de las Momias Guanajuato
Explanada del Panteón Municipal s/n
3600 Guanajuato, México
01 473 732 0639