Amazing Mexican Mask Museum in Zacatecas

Want to see 3,000 Mexican masks in one place? Head to the Museo Rafael Coronel in Zacatecas.

mask museum in Zacatecas Mexico

I first arrived in this part of Mexico while on assignment to review some hotels in Aguascalientes and Zacatecas. The former has a great Museo de los Muertos (Museum of the Dead) and the latter has one of the most amazing museums I’ve ever seen, with some 3,000 masks from all over Mexico. The collection is housed in a restored section of a 16th-century crumbling building that was a grand hacienda and convent.

For less than two bucks you get to tour it all and since this city is off the radar of most tourists, I doubt it’s ever very crowded. When I visited I got a private tour: a guy was going ahead of me turning on all the lights. I came back another time with my family and there was one other person in the museum. I bought a t-shirt because I wanted to help make sure this mask museum survives.

I don’t usually shoot a lot of photos in museums, but I went nuts in this one. The masks are from one guy’s private collection, which blows my mind since what’s on display is only 30% of the whole amount he bequeathed to the museum. The others are in storage. All of them are grouped thematically, from a whole wall of devils to a whole wall of gringos with big noses. Cheetahs, kings, crocodiles, and monsters. Since most are on the wall instead of being encased in glass, it’s easier to photograph these masks from Mexico than it is to shoot artifacts through the glass in a normal museum.

Kick back with a cup of coffee and check out the Zacatecas Mask Museum slideshow below.

  1. Steve

    Hey Tim –

    Enjoying all the articles on Mexico. Wanted to ask for your advice on something: I have approximately July 17th – 27th to travel, so about 10 days total…and I’d love to go somewhere that would be both enriching and have hot women – you see, I’m trying to get over someone special :). So I was thinking about heading back to central Argentina (but that’s a ways for just 10 days), or about guadalajara, panama, costa rica…any suggestions on one of these, or perhaps an entirely different place for this amount of time?

    Thanks as always!


  2. tim

    I have been married too long to help with that I am afraid. A lot of people have told me that Argentines are the most beautiful people in the world. But all the people who told me that were Argentine…

  3. Steve

    haha – understood, tim. yeah i am going to argentina, it’ll be my 3rd trip there – but much shorter this time. still, there’s no elixir for mental/emotional distress quite like travelling latin america…i metaphorically ran into a brick wall last week and now i have something to look forward to! never would have gone to argentina the first time if i hadn’t read your book – so a sincere ‘thank you’, tim.


  4. Steve

    actually tim i am asking for you advice once more: you’ve always got a level head with these things…..

    swine flu in argentina. all over the news. a friend of mine in bs as warned me that things are crazy there, people are kinda panicking. should i cancel my trip?

    • tim

      Have you forgotten about the panic here when it started? Where are you going to go instead—your bedroom?

  5. Samuel Peterson

    The masks are very amazing some of those are very scary but very nice work. I like your post very much, thanks for sharing with all of us.

  6. Sheila Harrison

    Was there a catalogue of the masks in Zacatecas?

    • tim

      No, but you could probably request one from the museum office if you speak Spanish.

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