Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico.
The Desert Museum is a project whose mission is to promote an ecological culture which values and respects the desert by showing the richness of life, history and culture which develop in it. It was built and is operated by the Amigos del Desierto de Coahuila, AC foundation. It has an area of more than 10 hectares and had, at the beginning, a cost of approximately 120 million pesos, the participation of the Government of the State of Coahuila and Donations from the Federal Government and private companies, as well as a considerable number of citizens who donated their collections made the project possible.
The desert – specifically the one in the Mexican northeast – is one of the richest environments in biodiversity in Mexico and a unique site for the study of our most remote past, where there are also vestiges of a pre-Hispanic cultural wealth that has been little known until today.
The Chihuahuan Desert in which ten states of the Republic are registered – Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí and part of Hidalgo, Querétaro and Aguascalientes- and two states of the United States – New Mexico and Texas- is the largest in North America and the subject of study by the Museum.
Located in the heart of the Chihuahuan Desert, in the state of Coahuila, the Desert Museum is located in Saltillo, its capital city.
The Museum is made up of four pavilions:
- In Hall I, the features and characteristics of the desert and the different geological eras through which the formation of Earth and life have passed are presented, special reference is made to the fossil legacy of Coahuila, among which the already legendary dinosaurs stand out.
- Hall II deals with the topic of the nomadic groups that inhabited the desert approximately 12 thousand years ago, the colonization of Northeast Mexico, the transformation of land uses from their sedentary settlement and the trades developed since the 17th century.
- Hall III shows the fauna that inhabited North America during the last ice age, the adaptive mechanisms of different life forms and the evolution of hominids. Species that currently inhabit the desert are exhibited and there is a special reference to the Cuatrociénegas Valley that is home to the first life forms on the planet: the stromatolites.
- Finally, in Hall IV more than 25 species of reptiles are exhibited. In addition, the Bio dome represents the environment that more than 70 million years ago (paleo environment) lived in what is now Coahuila.
On November 25, 1999, the Coahuila Desert Museum was inaugurated with the presence of the President of the Republic, Dr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León and the Board Directors of the Amigos del Desierto de Coahuila, AC foundation.
This Museum began its conceptualization when the first paleontological findings were known in the state of Coahuila. It took the effort and dedication of an important group of specialists in paleontology, geology, history, biology, archeology, anthropology and museography, among other disciplines. This team, coordinated by the Government of the State of Coahuila, made it possible to carry out this project.
Today, for 20 years, the Desert Museum has been a reality thanks to the participation of companies, agencies of the Coahuila Government and citizens who form its Board of Directors.