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From Idols to Antiquity


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: The Uses of a National Museum
1. Genealogies
2. Measures of Worth
3. Collecting the Ruins of Palenque
4. Modes of Display
5. Jose Fernando Ramirez, Keeper of the Archive
6. Whose Museum?
Epilogue: The Invention of Mexican Antiquities

About the Author

Miruna Achim is a professor of humanities at the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa in Mexico City. She is the author of several books on science history in Spanish and coauthor of Death and Dying in Colonial Spanish America with Martina Will de Chaparro.


"This significant new study by Achim . . . analyzes the early history of the National Museum of Mexico, extending understanding of how Mexico centralized its role in debates about the development of precontact American civilizations. Achim is particularly good at analyzing how the underfunded museum was a place of active object transactions, not simply a government-supported institution that demonstrated to other nations that the modernity of a recently independent Mexico was a marker of its international status."-N. J. Parezo, Choice -- N. J. Parezo * Choice *
"From Idols to Antiquity: Forging the National Museum of Mexico is a valuable addition. . . . Achim provides an engrossing account of the conflicted and contingent process through which the National Museum's early curators laid the foundations of what would evolve into one of the world's foremost museums."-Seonaid Valiant, Hispanic American Historical Review -- Seonaid Valiant * Hispanic American Historical Review *
"A riveting read. Based on meticulous research and full of astute observations, this study interrogates the uncertain and fragile beginnings of one of the world's most acclaimed museums. Miruna Achim addresses fundamental questions focused on the construction of cultural and political authority and legitimacy. It is an extraordinary achievement."-Susan Deans-Smith, author of Bureaucrats, Planters, and Workers: The Making of the Tobacco Monopoly in Bourbon Mexico
-- Susan Deans-Smith
"A truly outstanding contribution to the field that engages with the institution's complex and multilayered dimensions, facets, interactions, and relations by weaving a fascinating tapestry encompassing both the private and the public. This is a rigorously researched piece of scholarship of the highest caliber."-Will Fowler, author of Independent Mexico: The "Pronunciamiento" in the Age of Santa Anna, 1821-1858
-- Will Fowler

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