Cuauhnáhuac Museum (Museo de Cuauhnáhuac) is downtown at Av. Francisco Leyva #100; it flanks the e. side of the main plaza. This museum with the tongue-twisting name (pronounced kwow-NAH-wak) is housed in the Cortés Palace (Palacio Cortés), the former home of the Spanish conqueror. It was built over the remains of a pyramid. Construction of the medieval-style stone fortress began in 1530, but its appearance has been considerably altered since then.
The museum's 26 rooms chronicle everything from the age of dinosaurs to Mexico's contemporary Indian cultures. There are pre-Hispanic and religious artifacts; an exhibit about sugar plantations; 18th-century paintings from New Spain; traditional 19th-century dance costumes; pottery dating from the ninth century; a hat and gun that belonged to Emiliano Zapata; and objects associated with Cortés. Diego Rivera murals donated by former U.S. Ambassador Dwight Morrow depict the conquest of Mexico, the War of Independence and the Mexican Revolution of 1910.