MUSEO DE LAS CALIFORNIAS
The Museo de las Californias, opened on February 24th, 2000, is a permanent exhibition about the history of the peninsula and the people who lived there. Through original objects and scale replicas, it narrates the history of the territories that once were the Californias (Alta and Baja California) understanding that the region should be analyzed and understood as a whole.
The goal of the museography, elaborated by Mario Vázquez with the support and guidance from many outstanding specialized researchers, is to promote the access to cultural services and goods, and recreation for the Northwest community of Mexico, with the purpose to strengthen their regional and national identity, through the relation that is stablished between the events which occurred in the region along with the process that happened in a national and international level.
The exhibit begins with the arrival of the Yuman people, their practices, traditions, customs and world view. The way of living of the native people was altered by the arrival of Spanish explorers and catholic missionaries. The Colonial Mexico turned into the Independent Mexico, the missions and Spanish garrisons became Rancherias (ranches). With the beginning of the 20th century and the changes made by Porfirio Díaz, big companies and foreign groups arrived to the territory to transform the scene and the economic, cultural and social life. As the population and the economy grew in the region, it started to take its place on the world and as consequence it was affected by international processes. To finalize, the exhibit approaches the flora, fauna and paleontology of the region which along to the different human groups that have immigrated altogether form the residents of the peninsula.
The Museo de las Californias was created from the requests of many local groups that were interested in the promotion of the culture and history of the region, they considered that it was necessary to create a museum with those characteristics in Tijuana. After analyzing many proposals, it was determined that the line the museum had to follow was the peninsular history.
Studies of pre-Columbian cultures in Mexico have established three major geographical and cultural areas: Aridoamerica, inhabited by hunter-gatherer groups of Northern Mexico; Oasisamerica, located on the border of Chihuahua, Sonora, Arizona and New Mexico; and Mesoamerica, home of the great cultures and extending from the Bajio to Central America. It is on this latter region that researchers have focused their studies due to their sociocultural characteristics and which is address by the permanent exhibition: Jardin Caracol (Seashell Garden).
Jardin Caracol is a permanent outdoor exhibition that aims to promote the historical roots of the Mexican people and spread the historical, ecological and cognitive heritage of Mesoamerican cultures.
The exhibition consists of 30 sculptural reproductions of fiberglass and representative flora from all regions of Mesoamerica: Gulf of Mexico, Maya Area, Oaxaca, West and Central Plateau. The subdivision of Mesoamerica in these regions facilitates studies and is the basis on which the sections of Jardin Caracol divide.