Museo Popol Vuh - History and Facts | History Hit

Museo Popol Vuh

Guatemala City, Guatemala, Guatemala

Museo Popol Vuh in Guateala City has an extensive collection of ancient, particularly Maya, pieces.

Image Credit: Andrea_GR / CC.

About Museo Popol Vuh

Museo Popol Vuh is a museum of history and archaeology in Guatemala City, particularly concentrating on the Pre-Columbian era in Guatemala.

History of Museo Popol Vuh

The bulk of the museum’s collections were donated by Jorge Castillo in 1977: over his lifetime, he and his wife Ella had amassed an extensive collections of archaeological and colonial items. In 1975, he hired a student to classify and organise all of the items. On his death in 1977, Castillo donated his collections to the Universidad Francisco Marroquín. However, the university decided to house these new additions in their own museum.

The Popol Vuh, after which the museum is named, was a book containing the myths and history of the Quiche Maya – it was put down in writing shortly after the the arrival of the Spanish. It remains a non-profit institution and a centre for education and research.

Museo Popol Vuh today

The museum is widely regarded as one of the biggest and best collections of Maya art in the world: its collection of funerary art is particularly notable. The galleries are organised chronologically, from Paleo Indian through to colonial collections, and it takes several hours to explore them thoroughly.

There are also plenty of traditional textiles, and a copy of the Dresden Codex, which was one of the precious painted books of the Maya.

Museo Popol Vuh is closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. It’s one of Guatemala’s most modern and impressive museums and guided tours run semi-regularly. They are an excellent walk through of the complex history of the Maya and a good way to gain deeper understanding of what’s in front of you.

Visiting Museo Popol Vuh before embarking on your travels around Guatemala is a sensible option if you want to understand the chronology and some of the complex belief systems and societal structures of the Maya.

Getting to Museo Popol Vuh

The museum is located in Zona 10 of Guatemala City, on the campus of Universidad Francisco Marroquin, and is, unusually for Guatemala, wheelchair accessible.

There’s extremely limited public transport in the vicinity (the nearest bus stop is a couple of kilometres away), so getting a taxi here makes the most sense. Walking is not generally advised in Guatemala City.