This museum is installed in a building that was the first tourist hotel on the island, built in the 1930’s. The exhibition design includes the architectural adaptation of the exhibition spaces. There are two spaces in the lower levels and two in an expanded, covered area on the top floor. To free the spaces on the ground floor, the load bearing walls that subdivided the space were demolished and replaced with circular columns, forming wide open spaces with a design that integrates the architectural adaptations and the exhibition design in a unified whole.

The exhibitions on the ground floor explain the geography and ecology of Cozumel, to raise awareness of the importance of preserving the fragile balance of its land and sea ecosystems. The “Islands” hall presents a detailed account of the origin and geological evolution of the island and the characteristics of its ecosystems. The “Sea” hall exhibits the submarine environment, showing the long process of coral formation and the vulnerable ecosystem that develops around and including the coral reefs.

The top floor exhibits present the history of the island, since pre-hispanic times. The “History” hall explains the role of Cozumel as a strategic location for commerce and pre-hispanic navigation, and its importance as a sanctuary for the veneration of Ixchel, goddess of love and the gestation of the moon. On the other side, the hall narrates the arrival of the first Spanish in 1518, and later, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the use of the island as a pirate refuge, leading to its abandonment due to the scarcity of settlers. The “Contemporary Cozumel” hall shows the slow repopulating of the island, which began towards the end of the nineteenth century by refugees from the Caste War, and its development until becoming an important tourist destination in the present.

The museum design combines the display of objects representative of the museum’s themes with information elements and diverse displays such as graphics, scale models, dioramas, models and videos. A large interactive map and recreations of a mangrove tree in the “Island” hall, and one of a coral reef in the “Sea” hall are special highlights.

Location: Cozumel, Quintana Roo State

Year: 1987

Client: Government of the State of Quintana Roo

Project Scope: Architectural project and direction for the adaptation of the exhibition spaces, exhibition design project and realization.

Exhibition area: 900 m2

Project directors: Jorge Agostoni, Iker Larrauri

Collaborators: Humberto Alcántara Nava, Vicente Romero Rubí, Marcela Capdevila Vega, Mario Ramírez Díaz, Laura Trejo Feria, Sergio Osorio