The term “popular art” in English often evokes images of boldly-colored paintings that depict celebrities, comic book imagery, or branded food items. In Mexican Spanish however, “arte popular“ is used almost exclusively for the ethnic crafts and artworks that in English would be commonly known as “folk art” (the other artistic trend is instead known by the abbreviated “arte pop”).
Arte popular is so, well… popular in the country, that other museums dedicated to it can be found in cities like Puebla, Mérida, and Mexico City, for example, and the museum in Valle de Bravo is likely the smallest and newest of these.
Owing to the town’s proximity to the well-known pottery center of Metepec, this type of craft is probably the one best represented in the Museum. Its pottery collection does extend to examples from Tlaquepaque and Tonalá. Alongside wooden alebrijes from the state of Oaxaca, pieces by award-winning toymaker Josué Eleazar Castro, arte plumario (which uses feathers similarly to how tiles are used in a mosaic), and many other examples, this small museum showcases the diversity of Mexican folk art.
Know Before You Go
Not to be confused with the other Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City. The museums can often be told apart by their acronyms in Spanish; Mexico City's is MAP, while Valle de Bravo's is MUAPO.
MUAPO is open Wednesday-Sunday (except holidays) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The museum can be visited for free but only via a guided tour, and groups need to be at least 4 people. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is advised to contact the Museum via Whatsapp beforehand (+527122021449), in order to pre-arrange a visiting time.
Due to its location in a historic building without elevators, the upper floor is only accessible via stairs. Additionally, there are no toilet facilities in the museum.