If you want to learn about Mascota’s history, the best place to visit is Jose Raul Rodriguez’s museum. Rodriguez is a Mascota native who has vowed to pay homage to his town’s history and celebrities. “It was when I was studying abroad that I realized all important cities had a museum. I thought that if Mascota had centuries of rich history, it deserved to have its own museum,” so for 30 years he set to collect memorabilia and works of art from his town.
To Rodriguez, who taught elementary and high school for 35 years, Mascota remains mostly unchanged from his childhood days, and he still lives happily there. He acknowledges his dislike for the way new buildings are not constructed in the traditional local architectural style. “It’s not that I want to live Mascota’s past forever, but I want to hold on to its traditions and keep the streets clean.”
He specialized in History, and his work is undoubtedly part of a conservation process. His museum was opened in September 2002, its first gallery dedicated to actress Esther Fernandez, who had a big influence on his life. The second gallery is dedicated to painter Gilberto Guerra, not very well known up to now, but with an amazing array of work.
Today, Rodriguez is grateful by the large number of visitors his museum receives, his collection and of his independence. “I did this without any help from the government, and that is my greatest satisfaction. All of this is mine and my family’s.” He values his collection and is considering selling and touring it to achieve greater exposure.