Valladolid’s Museum of Ethnic Clothing of Mexico or MUREM recently opened its doors for the first time in what they describe as “a soft opening,” but will inaugurate officially on November 26th.
MUREM is housed on a large property graciously donated by Denis Larsen. Larsen still lives on the property, on a casita adjacent to the museum near its entrance.
As Larsen puts it, “MUREM is a place to understand the very broad and wide variety of Mexican clothing contemporary, historic and ethnic.”
For Tey Mariana Stiteler, the museum’s Director, MUREM is a project born from her love of Mexican culture and design. Born in Pittsburgh to a Mexican mother and American father, Stiteler already had an accomplished career working at prestigious museums including the Carnegie Museum of Art.
The idea to build a museum dedicated to Mexico’s ethnic clothing came when Stiteler received a donation of several beautiful pieces from Dorianne Venator, co-proprietor of Valladolid’s famous Casa de Los Venados.
Stiteler shared with us her concern that “in a generation or two Mexico’s cultural diversity will be assimilated to a homogeneous blend.” She continues “so today, MUREM’s mission, and my task, is to collect, preserve, and present traditional, indigenous, and contemporary Mexican ethnic clothing in a museum that serves as a heritage center for Mexicans and non-Mexicans.”
Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandimc, Stiteler had also started a Maya embroidery study tour to various villages in Yucatán to help keep traditions alive. “Hopefully when the conditions are right we will be able to restart this important work, remarks Stiteler.
Though Stiteler is the driving force behind MUREM, she is quick to point out that she is by no means the only member of the board giving to this project her all. “We have so many wonderful people donating their time and working with us, it really is a blessing,” says Stiteler with great enthusiasm.
“I see MUREM as a way to leave a legacy. I am so proud to be a part of this great adventure and work with such a wonderful team,” says Abelardo Suárez Pérez, a volunteer and member of the museum’s directors committee.
MUREM relies on donations from patrons but also sells beautiful pieces of Mexican clothing and folk art to help keep the lights on.