Cincinnati Museum Center Explores the Mysteries of Mayan Civilization in Upcoming Exhibition

"Maya: The Exhibition" displays more than 300 artifacts to reveal the daily life, religion, politics and innovations of the Maya

click to enlarge "Maya: The Exhibition" at the Royal British Columbia Museum. While on display here, it was titled "Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises." - Photo: Royal British Columbia Museum
Photo: Royal British Columbia Museum
"Maya: The Exhibition" at the Royal British Columbia Museum. While on display here, it was titled "Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises."

The mysteries of the Maya will unfold at the Cincinnati Museum Center by way of the aptly titled Maya: The Exhibition. Opening March 14, the show features over 300 original objects that reveal information about daily life in the civilization, from religion to politics to innovations.

It promises to be immersive, drawing museumgoers into the Maya's wondrous stepped pyramids, vividly-rendered artwork, figurines and jewelry made of jade and gold. Making its U.S. debut, the show also features stone-carved hieroglyphs and sculptures, the latter of which depict the deities of the Maya pantheon.  

Dating back to 2000 BC, according to a release, the civilization reached its peak in 600 AD, a time in which its population density outnumbered any other civilization across the globe. Sprawled within the jungles of what is now Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, their influence still stretches today. By studying the stars, they created the most precise calendar of ancient times that is as exact as today's standard. Another example of their many innovations points to their use of the number zero in math. 

Oh, and they're credited with the invention of chocolate. 

Produced by MuseumsPartner in collaboration with the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (MUNAE) and La Ruta Maya Foundation in Guatemala, the special exhibition will be on display through Sept. 7 at CMC. Before arriving at the CMC, it was exhibited from May 17-Dec. 31, 2019 in Canada's Royal British Columbia Museum, where it was titled Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises.

“Discoveries of the last 20 years have transformed our understanding of the people and why the great Maya cities were abandoned in the heart of Central America,” Dave Duszynski, vice president of featured experiences at CMC, says in a release. “Never before has such a spectacular set of Maya artifacts traveled to North America. We are thankful that Guatemala is sharing these amazing national treasures with Cincinnati.”

As it references the past, Maya: The Exhibition also turns to the present and future to the millions of descendants who speak the Mayan language today. 

A section honing in on archaeological work done by the University of Cincinnati will also be featured, complete with interactive activities, images and additional research that navigates how the Maya lived.

For more info, visit cincymuseum.org. Non-member tickets: $21 adult; $14 child; $19 senior. Member tickets: $14 adult; $9.50 child. 

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