Travelogue: Updates on World Monuments Fund in Mexico
Since the devastating earthquake of 1985, World Monuments Fund (WMF) has been working with partners in Mexico to preserve the country’s extraordinary cultural heritage, engaging in 62 projects at 32 sites spanning 17 Mexican states.
I was delighted last month to travel there with Lorna Goodman, Chair of WMF’s Board of Trustees, and Stephanie Ortiz, WMF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, to visit some of our project sites, meet with our partners, and develop our vision for WMF’s future in the country.
Our first stop was Teotihuacan. Since 1998, WMF has completed multiple projects there, including emergency interventions at the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. Today, following the site’s inclusion on the 2022 World Monuments Watch, we are focusing on tourism management and ensuring that nearby communities benefit from its annual influx of four million visitors.
A particular highlight of our visit was exploring one of the most important archeological discoveries made in recent years: a nearly 18-meter-deep tunnel below the Temple of Quetzalcoatl representing the underworld.
Next, we met with our partners at Canal Nacional in Mexico City. Among the last of ancient Tenochtitlan’s network of waterways, the site was included on the 2020 Watch to celebrate the residents that have long championed it despite limited resources. Since then, we have been working together to revitalize and help guide its rehabilitation. It was a privilege to spend a day at their side in this oasis of calm and nature in the city.
Our trip also coincided with Día de los Muertos festivities and Design Week Mexico. Discovering the work of contemporary Mexican designers inspired by traditional crafts was the perfect complement to a week dedicated to Mexico’s rich cultural heritage.
I am so grateful to our partners and supporters in Mexico, such as the Roberto Hernández Family, Fomento Cultural Banamex, American Express, Mexico Territorio Creativo, and the National Institute of Anthropology and History. A special thanks as well to Lorna Goodman for her generous support and to WMF Junior Board’s Aline Orrantia and Christopher, Dowd who gathered a vibrant group of culture enthusiasts for a lovely reception in Mexico City.
Bénédicte de Montlaur
President and CEO
World Monuments Fund’s work at Teotihuacan is supported, in part, by the Bernard Selz Foundation, American Express, and Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History. World Monuments Fund’s work at Canal Nacional is supported, in part, by American Express.