During Spring Break, I took my visitors through the Sarape Museum, and they were still game for more museums. (My favorite kind of visitors!) We were hanging out in the Plaza de Armas, so I suggested that we wander through the Museum of Coahuila’s Presidents, which is located in the back corner of the state government building.
Now, for years, I assumed that the state building was off-limits for the public. Then one day, I was at the Plaza de Armas with a friend and her preschooler had to use the bathroom. She just waltzed past the security guards at the entrance and that kid was able to use a beautiful, clean, free, public toilet!
So don´t shy away from entering the state government building on the Plaza de Armas. The metal detectors and guards are a little intimidating, but it´s well worth a visit. One reason for visiting is the Museum of Coahuila’s Presidents, which occupies one corner. Like most of Saltillo’s government-run museums, it´s tiny. If one reads fast (or doesn’t have enough Spanish to read much), a visit can take 5-10 minutes.
However, if visitors do like to read, it´s a pleasant way to spend a small portion of an afternoon.
Despite the massive size of this state, Coahuila has never had a large population. So there haven´t been many of presidents from this state. I guessed that they´d have a lot of displays of Madero and Carranza, and I wasn’t wrong. (Both were presidents during the Mexican revolution 100 years ago. Essentially, Madero started the Mexican Revolution, and Carranza was instrumental in ending it.) What Coahuila doesn’t have in population, it makes up for in larger-than-life leaders!
The second part of the museum seemed to go off on a tangent, singing the praises of
Coahuila’s governors. Since the museum is called Museo de Presidentes Coahuilenses, does that mean that it focuses on Mexican presidents who were originally from Coahuila, or those who were “president” of the state of Coahuila? (Otherwise called governors–and I´m not just getting lost in translation. The word is the same in English and Spanish!)
Whatever the case, for those who have ever wondered who Perez Treviño and Nazario Ortiz Garza were–major streets are now named after these men–look no further. This museum will clue us in.
The museum has a third gallery, housing rotating exhibits. At the moment, there are a collection of photographs and some costumes celebrating matachines. No festival in Coahuila is complete without a group of matachines, so it was an appropriate exhibit in the state government building.
However, that which makes a visit inside the state government building most worthwhile isn’t even in the museum. On entering the government palace, look up, or go up a flight of stairs. On the second story is a fantastic mural highlighting key events in history and a few of Coahuila’s most famous citizens.
That mural will bring me back inside the government building. That, and the free restrooms. But I’ll swing through the museum before or after, so they’ll continue to keep the restrooms open to the public.