This museum is housed in a restored 18th-century mansion and contains the private collection of pre-Hispanic art of Oaxacan artist Rufino Tamayo. He collected these objects on his travels through Mexico, and he wanted to be sure that this heritage remained in the country and that it be on display for the general public to see and appreciate it.
Tamayo selected the pieces based on their artistic, rather than archaeological, value. The exhibits are not grouped in chronological or geographical sequence but rather according to overarching themes. The collection contains around one thousand pieces, all of them interesting, but a few of them are exquisite, such as a ceramic model of the Mesoamerican ball game.