MERIDA — The director of the Palacio Cantón Museum, Giovana Jaspersen García, proudly says that this compound belongs to INAH’s museum network and has the best cultural heritage of the Southeast.
The restoration works are about to conclude, it is important to remark that a big amount of federal resources have been invested in this important project, but it was all worth it because the grand mansion has recovered its majestic beauty.
Giovana Jaspersen recalled that the restoration of the Palacio Cantón is a long term project that started three years ago. In this sense, the first thing that had to be intervened were the mansardas (French style ceiling ornaments), attic, terraces, and other spaces, because in every architectural restoration it is necessary to begin from the highest levels to the lowest. Especially in Yucatan due to climatic issues that generate humidity problems in walls and ceilings.
Most of the work is being carried out in the vaults of the ground floor, because these have humidity filtration problems that reflect deteriorations and detachments. “What specialists are doing”, explained Jaspersen García, “are stratigraphic coves with scalpel (micro holes) to determine the number of paint layers that the building has had throughout its “life”. The intention is to rescue, if possible, the original paint color. But at the moment the priority is to find a solution to the leaking issues in severl parts of the ceiling”.
“Palacio Cantón is an icon, an architectural jewel, and much of its problems are just similar to those of any other house,” said the director. “We are solving the most basic as leaks, electrical and hydraulic infrastructure. On June 12, the first phase of intervention must finish, and works will continue, without suspending the museum activities.
During these works, the restorers discovered paintings made by children on the walls of the attic, an area not open to the public, and apparently these paintings were made during the 1940s, when the Palace was used as a school. Other schoar items were found as well, since the attic was used as a dorm for students.
“This type of information tells the story of the building itself and is what we are interested in releasing or recreating,” says the director. “We want visitors to imagine how the Palace was originally, therefore, we want to remove distractors so that people can enjoy the luxury architectural spaces, that remain in everyone’s memory.”
The Museum used to receive 2,000 monthly visitors and recently, that number went up to 12,000 a month, and during special events such as the “Fair of Light” or the “White Night”, attendance has gone up to 22,000 visitors a month.
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