At first glance, the Parish of Santiago Apostol may seem like any other church in Querétaro. But don’t let its ordinary exterior fool you. Deep within the sanctuary is a tiny exhibition hall filled with musical wonders.
The room is guarded at one end by a baroque quarry door and on the other side by a huge portrait of the convent’s benefactors. In the center, showcases display part of the temple’s collection of choir books, purposely opened to specific pages to that show off their fine decorations. You’ll soon notice that the books are enormous—this is because they were once placed on a lectern in the center of the room so the whole choir could read from the same book.
The creation of this exhibition space is just the first step that the church administration has taken to publicize its archive. The archive is, according to some, the oldest and most complete within Querétaro. It contains marriage, baptism, and other records that have been in place since 1580.
The church itself originally functioned as a Jesuit temple until 1767, when the congregation was expelled from Spanish territory. Thanks to the Jesuits, the detailed preservation of documents and other works of art that are not in sight remain in the building.