Saturday, January 25, 2020

This Museum Stinks

I've mentioned before that Mexico City has around 150 museums which puts it close to the top of the list for the most the museums in any city in the world.  I have bookmarked on my laptop a website that has a list of all of the city's museums.  One of the newest on the list is the Perfume Museum.  So on Thursday I went to the Historic Center to visit it.  It is located in a 19th century building on Tacuba Street.

As it turns out, the museum is not yet officially open.  However, in the meantime, they are giving guided tours of a temporary exhibit.  The young lady at the entrance told me that I could return at 1:00 for the next tour.  So, I walked around the neighborhood for about forty minutes and returned.

There were about ten people in our group; I was the only gringo.  Our guide said that the museum would open in July, and that it would be the only museum in Latin America devoted to the subject of perfume.  She told us about the history of the building.  It was a commercial building that was once owned by the in-laws of President Porfirio Díaz.  It housed a pharmacy, several doctors' offices and a photography studio.

The temporary exhibit consisted of several pieces of rather silly contemporary art that were in some way connected with the theme of fragrance.   There was, for example, a rather ugly piece of plastic sculpture hanging from the ceiling that would at intervals spray out some aroma. 

The only thing there which actually dealt with the creation of perfume, and which I found interesting and informative, was this tree which they have in the courtyard.

The tree is a tropical "aquilaria".  Notice the white strips around the trunk.  They cut into the tree and injected a type of parasitic fungus.  The tree reacts to this fungus by producing a fragrant resin called "oud".  "Oud" oil is more expensive than gold, and for that reason it is sometimes called "liquid gold".  It is used as a base note in some pricey designer perfumes.

I don't know what the museum will be like when it officially opens, but right now it is a waste of time.

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