Culture of Cabo: A Q and A with Director of the Cabo San Lucas Museum of Natural History
Roberto Cuétara has been working in museums for more than 50 years, and anyone who has visited cultural heritage sites in Baja California Sur–from Loreto to La Paz to Los Cabos–has almost certainly been exposed, knowingly or not, to his very fine informational guides and three-dimensional exhibits. He’s currently director at the Museo de Historia Natural de Cabo San Lucas, one of the Land’s End City’s most notable cultural attractions.
The museum, which originally opened on October 9, 2006, is the repository of an enormous amount of knowledge about the area and its inhabitants, a treasure trove of fossils and old photographs. Exhibit halls guide visitors through the long history of the region, from primitive tools excavated at local beaches to a two million year old zebra fossil found in the nearby Sierra de la Laguna mountain range. It is, suffice it to say, an essential stop for anyone interested in the history and heritage of Cabo San Lucas, not to mention an invaluable resource for local schoolchildren.
I recently sat down with the esteemed curator to discuss the history of the museum, and, as its 10th anniversary approaches, its future.
Can you tell me a little bit about your career, and how you became Director of the Museo de Historia Natural?
I started my museum career in 1963 during the planning of the Museum of National Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropología). At the end of that mission and because of the quality of my work and my professionalism I was invited by Mario Vázquez, a renowned curator who was head of the museum, to be in charge of serigrafía, the art of printed material and design. Back then I was the expert in serigraphy. I specialized in graphic arts production.
Then, in 1969, I was invited to collaborate in a serigraphy workshop project for regional museums across the nation. I learned how to write museum guides and captions, and how to reproduce them graphically into three dimensional art. That workshop ultimately led to a career in coordination and direction of both regional and national museums.
How did you end up in Baja California Sur?
I had already visited here in 1967 when it was still a national territory. I visited La Paz and I heard about Loreto and its beauties. Then in 1973 I came to Loreto to work in the first museum of Baja California Sur, in the mission of Loreto. Luis Echeverría (president of Mexico from 1970 – 1976) had, during the course of his campaign, promised to rescue and protect Baja California Sur’s extant missions.
Does that museum still exist?
Yes it does and it’s beautiful.
Article by Chris Sands, Cabo San Lucas, continues: