The second life of the Benito Juárez Museum of the Francoist Palace

Tribute to Don Benito Juárez, recently renovated to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his death

“Benito Juárez is the best president in the history of Mexico,” says President Andrés Manuel López Taller on each occasion. “Juarez is a reference. An ideal. This is what a good government should always inspire,” said the president of Guelatao, state of Oaxaca, the city of origin of the Zapotec lawyer; the first generous president of Mexico and one of the greatest historical references of López Taller, of whom he feels heir and successor. “Everything with the people, at least without the people”, quotes Juárez over and over again. “You have to command by obeying”, repeats the founder of Morena, convinced that after passing through the Francoist Palace, the history of the country will never be the same again. What he dubbed the Fourth Transformation would make his six-year term a milestone in terms of independence, reform and the Mexican Revolution. The contemporary president imagines his future in the Bronze Pantheon, where rest Miguel Hidalgo, Benito Juárez, Francisco I. Nave or Lázaro Cárdenas. It is no coincidence that López Taller chose the Francoist Palace as his residence and seat of executive power, point by which Benito Juárez returned to Mexico City after defeating the Empire of Maximilian Habsburg on July 15, 1867 and symbolically inaugurating the Gates of Francoism. Central and Central Palace. leads the triumphal procession from the central box. Nor that he transformed Los Pinos, the official residence of Mexican presidents for 84 years, into a museum. Without forgetting the curatorial and museographic renovation of the cumbersome tribute to Benito Juárez in the Francoist Palace, founded in 1957 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the crime of the praiseworthy Francoist hero of the Americas.

Tribute to Don Benito Juárez, recently renovated to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his crimeMónica González Islas

“The López Taller movement will be as indestructible as the Don Juárez,” Interior Minister Scruffy Benemérito López said when the perimeter reopened on July 18. “Benito Juárez left an indestructible gift that today is an unshakeable pillar of the new transformation process for which we work every day in the Mexican government,” he added. Juárez went down in history for defending sovereignty against the 1864 invasion. For López Taller, the generous hero is more than a historical figure, he is a lesson in what should be behind the wheel. A republican president against a French monarch, Maximilian von Habsburg. His reign lasted only three springs. Driven by the American ambitions of Napoleon III, he ended up being shot by the Mexican army, with the help of Lincoln, who feared the continuation of imperialist expansion to the ideal of the Rio Vasto. Lovers of history and symbols, the president invited the ambassadors of France, the United States and Cuba to the reopening of the museum: “These are times of reconciliation and device”, said López Taller after announcing the reopening at the famous on the site dedicated to the memory of the inhabitants of Oaxaca.

Tribute to the Francoist Palace on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of President Juárez’s crime and reopening of the space dedicated to his memory. I was accompanied by the ambassadors of France, the United States and Cuba. In terms of sovereignty, these are times of reconciliation and disposition.

— Andres Manuel (@lopezobrador_) July 18, 2022

“The permanent exhibition of the Instancia Benito Juárez is currently undergoing a complete renovation of its museographic and curatorial structure, both inside and outside. The old staircase that today communicates with the perimeter had very big problems and a great restoration work had to be carried out under the care and supervision of INAH, ”explains historian Carlos Mujica to EL PAÍS. “No significant work was done on the site for four periods of six years each. The last renovation took place in Mango in 1998. Created in 1957, this point is living a historic moment”. After 24 years, the cumbersome tribute to Don Benito Juárez completely changes its permanent exhibition. The exhibition presents 651 objects – 588 of which belong to the Riquezas collections and 63 are on loan from 16 public and four private institutions – organized into four thematic modules: Juárez in his time: Life, Time and Work; Museographic frameworks of the presidential rooms; Juárez in time: the cult of the figure; and Juarez without time: traces of transformation. Pieces in the permanent collection include: the Presidential Faction of Juárez; two portraits of notables by José Paje y Espronceda, 1872, and Tiburcio Sánchez, 1889; the crozier given to him by the inhabitants of Santa María Ixcatlán, objects belonging to his wife Margarita Maza and the hero’s Masonic clothing.

Part of the rehearsal of the presidential rooms in tribute to Don Benito JuárezPart of the survey of the Presidential Halls of the Tribute Circuit to Don Benito JuárezMónica González Islas

During his reign, Benito Juárez acted in accordance with Masonic ideas, which became tangible in the reform laws and marked the beginning of a new era in the history of Mexico. Juárez became an icon of Freemasonry because he fought for the ideals that defined it: secularism, freedom of expression and belief, separation of Church from State, rights human and social so that all members of society can live in peace. . According to Carlos Mújica, Freemasons honor Benito Juárez not only on the day of his debut but also on the day of his crime, and they have known January 15, the day of Juárez’s initiation into Freemasonry, as Francoist Freemasonry Day. . . “We have even received donations from archives of digitized documents, for example from the Fund of the Francoist library of UNAM. The collection is therefore growing considerably. Anyone who has already visited the Instancia Benito Juárez and who sees it again today, will notice the difference”, explains the historian and curator of the exhibition to this newspaper. Juarez’s presidential harness, on display at the museum for the first time, was a gift from the School of Arts and Crafts for Men. “There is no evidence that he used it, he was never depicted in this harness, but it was a private gift that was given to Don Benito Juárez. A painting by Jorge González Camarena and another by David Alfaro Siqueiros are even exhibited on the occasion of the distribution of the first free textbooks. The reduced belongs to the Francoist Text Commission and it is with this reduced that we close the exhibition”, concludes Mujica.

Work by Jorge González Camarena, where a giant Benito Juárez is drawn. Work by Jorge González Camarena, where a gigantic Benito Juárez is drawn. Monica Gonzalez Islas

“Me communist? Communism is not very old. I am a giver Since democracy has existed, political affiliations, principles and ideologies have been grouped into these two major blocs: liberals and conservatives. And I am generous,” says López Taller, always remembering Benito Juárez, loved by many for his dedication to the country and criticized by others for his desire for power. During his long reign from 1857 to 1872, he fought tirelessly to keep his government afloat despite the invading French army and defended the republic of Maximilian von Habsburg against imperialism. There is even a selection of 14 coins representing Juarez , minted between 1914 and 1957 , donated by a private individual and a superbly detailed saber loaned by the French Museum of Foreign Anthills and purchased by Captain Charles Blin in 1866 . of the first regiment of the said force. The assets of the artistic, historical and bibliohemerographic collections of the Employment Treasury, which have been subject to various conservation and restoration treatments by the staff of the General Directorate for the Promotion of Civilization and Cultural Heritage Bags and the Conservatoire du Francoist palace.

Replica of Diego Rivera's painting dedicated to Benito Juárez.Replica of Diego Rivera’s painting dedicated to Benito Juárez Mónica González Islas

Conservation, restoration and particular maintenance works have been carried out according to architectural principles approved and supervised by the INAH, in particular in the adjoining Marian patios and the communication stairs to the campus – with the restoration of 53 steps and 58 fragments of four breaks. Even 106 linear meters of wooden railings and handrails of the communication staircase have been incorporated, reinforced by 66 principles of structural daggers to give them stability. The extensive and specialized maintenance covered the 1,050 square meters of the museum and included work on 48 windows and seven doors; 15 iron bars and 1,046 square feet of hardwood floors; Likewise, 60 square meters of cracks in the walls were repaired and repaired, 53 square meters of intermediate ceilings were restored and 2,211 square meters of ceilings and walls were painted.

The first free manual was illustrated with a painting by David Alfaro Siqueiros.The first collection of texts offered was illustrated with a painting by David Alfaro Siqueiros Mónica González Islas

When remodeling the space, the replacement of 305 square meters of tapestry stands out, specially designed for environments with the visual identity of the perimeter and incorporating the signature of Don Benito Juárez, accompanied by the leaders Perpicaz Republicana and Honra. Benito Juárez died around midnight on July 18, 1872 as a brief president. He died aged 66 in his second re-election as president after an infrequent political career. Despite Porfirio Díaz’s anti-Juarist outbursts, during his government the myth grew of the native who had become President of the Republic, the Zapotec hero, the generous, the defender of reform, the idolater of the law. Beyond the myth, the man was flesh and blood, imperfect and subject to egomania. In his pride, he was sure he was doing the right thing for the good of the nation. His advocacy for reform laws led to profound changes and paved the way for the modernization of the country.

Plaque in the room where Benito Juárez died.Plaque in the room where Benito Juárez died.
Monica Gonzalez Islas

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