Chihuahua’s former Palacio Federal (built 1908–10) has been used as a mint, a Jesuit monastery, a military hospital and a post office, but is now a cultural center full of good-quality exhibits, with most explanations in English and Spanish. Modern displays concentrate on the culture and history of Chihuahua state with features on Mormons, Mennonites and the Tarahumara. The most famous gallery is Calabozo de Hidalgo, the subterranean dungeon where Miguel Hidalgo was held prior to his execution.
The historic dungeon and the church towering above it were preserved within the later buildings erected on the site. A short audiovisual heightens the mournful atmosphere of the dungeon, which contains Hidalgo’s bible and crucifix. A plaque outside recalls the verses the revolutionary priest wrote in charcoal on his cell wall in his final hours thanking his captors for their kindness.