The Casa Museo Guillermo Tovar de Teresa in Colonia Roma Norte was inaugurated in December 2018. So it’s one of the newest museums in Mexico City. This elegant house museum sits inside a lovingly restored Porfirian mansion. Built in 1911, this gorgeous classic house has parquet floors, white crown molding, private library, inner patio, and lush gardens. It’s the former home of Mexican child prodigy, art collector, bibliophile, and historian Guillermo Tovar de Teresa (1956-2013). Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim was a personal friend of Tovar, so now it’s owned by Slim’s foundation (which also runs Museo Soumaya in Polanco). And while the building is impressive, the collection of fine art objects is even better. There’s antique furniture, detailed engravings, vintage photos, oil paintings, religious sculptures, and other rare items. Most of the objects here are from the Spanish Viceroy era, or the 19th century.
Carved volcanic stone (cantera) facade with black wrought iron work covering the windows and entrances. You can see the rooftop garden in the top left-hand corner.
Typical of the museum interior, this highly detailed white crown molding in the lobby features intricate floral patterns and Aztec frets.
This elegantly carved wooden breakfront in the lobby is lit from within to highlight a display of fine pottery and glassware.
A fine antique wooden trunk featuring inlaid wood patterns and medieval scenes.
A precious wood cabinet inlaid with scrimshawed ivory, tortoise shell, and mother-of-pearl.
Cocos chocolateros were once a trendy status item. Carved from polished coconut shell, the fancy goblets were once used by upper-class Mexicans, specifically for drinking chocolate. The big goblet in the middle of this photo, with the royal eagle carved on it, once belonged to Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico.
This quiet private library at the back of the building holds twenty thousand books. The parquet floor is centered around an intricate compass rose pattern. The moveable library step-stool (bottom right-hand corner) matches the floor. Above the fireplace is “Autorretrato” created by French painter Édouard Pingret (1788-1875) in 1852.
The sun-drenched checkerboard hallway connecting the front end of the home with the back end. The patio garden is to the left.
The hallway features original landscape lithographs by British artist Daniel Thomas Egerton (1797–1842). Egerton spent most of his adult life working in Mexico. But he (and his pregnant wife) were murdered in what is now Colonia Tacubaya, in Mexico City. There are several theories about why he was killed. But some think Egerton may have been targeted because he was an English spy, suspected of selling his highly-detailed landscape paintings to the British Empire (and other foreign governments) so they could study Mexican terrain!
The inner patio is overgrown with a lush, Victorian garden. The peaceful inner patio has a Victorian-style patio garden with semi-hidden mirrored seating area, faux wood (molded concrete) steps and railings, colorful tile, and regal lion statues.
This free glossy magazine provides detailed information about the museum and its objects. It also makes a nice souvenir. The museum offers free guided tours, but they’re usually offered in Spanish. English-speaking tour guides are also available, upon request. Make your tour reservations ahead of time. Although the museum is still fairly new, the building and art collection are very high quality. And it’s free for everyone (including international tourists). So, it’s already quite popular. Expect heavy crowds in the afternoon and on weekends. Ideally you should try to arrive right when the doors open – on a weekday – to avoid the crowds. Address: Valladolid 52, Colonia Roma Norte
Read More: How To Learn Spanish Before Visiting Mexico