Palacio Cantón visitors increase sixfold since restorations began

Palacio Cantón in Merida. Photo: Conaculta
The mansard roof of the Palacio Cantón receives some tender loving care. Photo: Sipse

Since restoration work at the Palacio Cantón began three years ago, attendance is up. Way up.

Peak season attendance was already healthy, at 2,000 a month, but now it’s at 12,000, said Giovana Jaspersen García, director of the Regional Museum of Anthropology. During Noche Blanca last year, they received 4,000 visitors in one night alone, and 22,000 during the Festival of Light.

The museum has been housed in the grand mansion for over 50 years. The building was built in 1911 to be the home of General Francisco Canton Rosado, a former state governor.

While the museum houses pre-Columbian artifacts, the building is purely Porfiriato. Built with materials brought from France, Italy and Germany, the Beaux-Arts-style building stands out among scores of beautiful European mansions on the Paseo de Montejo.

When it ceased to be a private residence, the Palacio Cantón was a library and a school. It became a museum in 1959.

The renovations started at the top, with the mansard roof. Now, the vaulted ceilings on the ground floor are being carefully examined, with workers analyzing paint layers. They are also uncovering its original murals, just as they previously found childish graffiti left behind by students in the attic.

Much of the work is a battle against humidity, an ongoing issue in Yucatán, as well as mundane challenges like electricity and water. This renovation phase concludes June 12.

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