A newly created exhibit is making the rounds across America that tells what life was like for the ancient Mayan people. Yes, the people who made that famous calendar that was supposed to mark the end of time last year and who did lots of human sacrifices. It’s interesting stuff from a very interesting people.
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science partnered with the Science Museum of Minnesota to co-create a traveling exhibition called “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed.” It is currently in Denver through August 24 as part of the opening of a new wing to our museum designed with kids in mind. The exhibit is the largest about Mayan culture in the U.S.!
Team members from the co-creating museums traveled down to Belize to experience the dark, watery caves, the tall temples and everything in between to enable them to create an experience in the exhibition that really gives visitors a sense of what it’s like to visit the areas the Mayan’s inhabit (and still do today). What makes the exhibit even more interesting is the fact that people can go visit the actual sites relatively easily – in some cases, in a direct flight. So we can feel more of a connection to these people who were and are form the same section of the world as we are.
The exhibit, which covers 20,000 square feet in Denver’s new gallery space, is very family-friendly. There’s plenty for kids to do including creating their Mayan name or plugging their birthdate into the Mayan calendar. There’s plenty to touch too including a replica of the first rubber ball, which was invented by the Mayans. Kids can imagine how different every ballgame they play today would have been had the Mayan’s not invented something bouncy!
My favorite part of the exhibit is a giant touch-screen archeological dig. It shows a real, scientific dig site. You “virtually” wipe away layers of dirt, revealing bones and other items underneath. Touch them and descriptions pop up telling you what they are as well as seeing pages from actual archeologist’s notebooks from the site. It’s as close as you can get to doing a real archeological dig without getting your hands dirty.
Kids ages 8 and above will really be interested in learning the Mayan number system, represented in so many of their artifacts. Dots equal 1 and long rectangular bars equal 5. Kids will enjoy spotting them all over the exhibits.
After its run in Denver, the exhibit travels to the Museum of Science in Boston and then the Science Museum in San Diego and then hopefully to many other stops from there. Come see it in Denver or watch for “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” coming to a city near you.
– That’s IT!
Courtney also writes for the In Good Taste Denver blog about things to do in Denver at www.ingoodtastedenver.com.