Throughout history, each culture has given a specific meaning to the concept of childhood. Society determines how children should look and behave, while families and schools guide their behavior and define the role they play.
The exhibition Children of the nineteenth century presents the context in which a part of Mexican children lived. The variety of objects on display is a sample of the solutions that have been given to the modern needs of childhood.
During the Virreinato era, the children were educated under strict moral and religious norms. In the family nucleus they were considered adults in the process of formation.
In the 18th century, the scientific and liberal conceptions of the Enlightenment, the political and social changes derived from the French Revolution and the independence movements that abolished slavery, allowed the creation of a new notion of mankind, which in turn implied another view and understanding of childhood.
The ideas of the French writer and philosopher J.Jacob Rousseau were decisive in understanding children as individuals with their own personality, so they became the subject of serious study. “We don’t know anything about childhood,” Rousseau warned in 1762.
Until the first half of the 18th century, in Western culture, there were very few objects made exclusively for children. It was until the nineteenth century, with the Industrial Revolution, that products were made for them: furniture and clothing for their size, as well as toys that entertained them. This change of perception generated a new place for children in society.
The exhibition was presented from July 9 to October 25, 2015.