MIDE - Interactive Economy Museum
I was very happily surprised today. Some weeks ago, walking in downtown Mexico City, I found the Interactive Economy Museum (Museo Interactivo de Economía - MIDE, for which I had seen some posters at my workplace (of course, as some of you know, I work at UNAM’s Institute for Economics Research (Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas)). MIDE is one Mexico’s youngest museums (opened about two months ago), and it is… Frankly impressive and well done. When I first heard about an interactive economy museum, I could only think about entering a room with buttons that would cause economic or politic crisis in different Asian or African countries, so we could watch the outcome. Of course, it was not so (or at least, I hope so - I pressed quite a number of buttons!) The museum is multimedia rich, and will attract children (I’d suggest going with 10 year old kids and older) and grown-ups. It is quite well balanced, having many things that are just fun to do (i.e. for the scarcity topic, recording a video saying what do you want but don’t have so other people see you, and see other people’s videos, or “designing” -of course, quite simplisticly, but still- your own banknote, with your own photo), that give you a better insight of the full economic process (how money changes hands: A story told by six different animations, each explaining a different part of the process, about the relations between a family, the bank, the factory owner and the supermarket; a stock exchange simulator; comparisons between different indicators on the living standards over the world). But even more than the exhibit itself, just being at the Bethlehemit ex-convent and ex-hospital is very well worth a visit. Even if the XVIII-century building endured very rough times and got severely deteriorated, it has been completely rescued - and unlike most colonial palaces we have, it was rescued mixing modern elements with the old architecture with a very good balance and taste. …Very well worth a visit. Really. If you happen to be in the Mexico City center, go to Tacuba street, just by Metro Allende, in front of Café Tacuba. Oh, and don’t go without having lunch first: We entered at 2PM, and had to fast-track over half of the museum because we were too hungry to pay attention. Of course, we plan to return with the family, so it’s not lost. Besides, maybe next time I’ll have time for a nice chat with Adam Smith and Karl Marx, who are seen walking around the museum. I talked a bit with one of the Bethlehemit monks. Who runs the museum? It is never obvious, and I want to know. The building was, accodring to their web site, acquired in 1989 and remodeled since then by the Bank of Mexico, which would make perfect sense. Besides, it’s quite clear that the Bank helped for some of the exhibits, such as the numismatics collection or the banknote printing technology room.