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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.

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Gina Fiore

Friday 18th of February 2022

I just visited the museum today. It's still the same they turned the lights on as I arrived and I took more photos than anywhere else in Zacatecas beautiful shots of the sculpture's and the brother of the artist has a museum as well with art in it. I will see that tomorrow,

I love Zacatecas. This is my second visit> I am looking to rent a place for next winter. I am american. I have yet to see any americans nor canadians here at present. I have the entire town to myself. LOL Lots of Local visitors but no gringos. Happiest place to visit ever.

Thanx Gina

Tim Leffel

Thursday 24th of February 2022

Thanks for sharing your experience! It's a mystery to me why that city doesn't get more visitors. They must have terrible PR/marketing people in place. Glad you enjoyed the mask museum.

Sheila Harrison

Sunday 1st of January 2012

Was there a catalogue of the masks in Zacatecas?


Sunday 1st of January 2012

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

Samuel Peterson

Thursday 16th of July 2009

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.


Saturday 11th of July 2009

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?


Tuesday 14th of July 2009

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


Thursday 9th of July 2009

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.