Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología
Guatemala City’s Archaeology Museum (6a Calle y 7a Avenida Zona 13, tel. 2475-4399, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tues.–Fri., 9 a.m.–noon and 1:30–4 p.m. Sat./Sun., $4) houses an outstanding collection of original monuments from Guatemala’s archaeological sites, including ceramics, carved rock sculptures and stelae from Kaminaljuyú, barrigones (Olmecoid stone figures with distended, bloated bellies) from the Pacific Coast sites, and stelae from the Petén sites.
Among the latter are beautifully carved stelae and a spectacular hieroglyphic bench from Piedras Negras as well as stelae and hieroglyphic panels from Dos Pilas and Machaquilá. Another of the museum’s highlights is a splendid jade mask made famous on the cover of the September 1987 issue of National Geographic.
The ethnology section has displays on traditional costumes and housing. The displays are not quite as modern or well done as in some other of the city’s top museums, but the sheer significance of the original pieces found here makes a visit more than worthwhile.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com