Despite being a renowned ancient culture of Mesoamerica, the Mayan civilization remains full of mysteries. A recent exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum, “Maya: Secrets of their Ancient World,” aims to educate visitors about various aspects of the civilization and break down popular misconceptions associated with the ancient people. Curators hope that visitors will experience Mayan society through an exhibit that is structured like a guided tour. Visitors have the opportunity to touch reproductions or models, immerse themselves through videos or animations, and view rare artifacts like the recently excavated Tablet of the Warriors from Temple XVII. Many of these artifacts have never been on display in Canada.
A part of the exhibit focuses on the notorious Mayan calendar, which ends in the year 2012. The calendar has sparked a great deal of interest, as many believe it points to an ominous “end of the world.” The exhibit intends to debunk this idea and reaffirm that the year, 2012, is simply the end of a cycle, bearing no connection to the apocalypse. Additionally, the exhibit seeks to show that the Mayans were not always as peace loving of a people as many believe and highlight the complexity of their culture.
Museum exhibitions such as “Maya: Secrets of their Ancient World” are means of bridging the gap between the past and the present. Not only are they educational, but they also often remind visitors that there is still much to learn from our ancestors. Contemporary society is constantly looking toward the innovations of the future in order to build sustainable communities. However, by looking back at the communities built by ancient civilizations, the contemporary world can learn the tools needed to create, organize, and sustain society. Through “Maya: Secrets of their Ancient World,” visitors can gain an accurate account of Mayan culture and learn from the remarkable society these people were able to establish.
Here is the link to the exhibit page and video:
Wong, Jessica. “Maya Exhibit Busts Myths amid Tour of Ancient World.” CBC.ca. CBC News, 17 Nov. 2011. Web. 27 Nov. 2011.