Museum of Anthropology (Museo de Antropología de Xalapa) is n.w. of downtown on Av. Xalapa, between avs. Acueducto and 10 de Mayo. It houses a superb collection of artifacts encompassing most of Mexico's gulf coast Indian groups, with an emphasis on the Olmec, Totonac and Huastec cultures. Contrasting vividly with the antiquity of the exhibits is the ultramodern museum building, which incorporates a series of tropically landscaped outdoor patios.
A massive Olmec head is stationed at the museum entrance; several other heads, the largest almost 9 feet tall, are on display in outdoor gardens and indoor galleries. Additional highlights include dramatically lifelike ceramic statues of women wearing belts in the form of writhing serpents; a carved figure in green stone holding an infant with jaguar-like facial features that are characteristically Olmec; and beautifully crafted jade and bone jewelry. The carefully organized displays are augmented by maps that note excavation sites and show where the civilizations flourished.
Information about the exhibits is presented in Spanish only, but headphone audio guides are available in English.