More than 200 Mayan artifacts are on display in Fernbank’s newest exhibit, “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed.”
The exhibit takes guests on a deep dive into a culture and society that has left society marveling in its awe since discovery of ancient Mayan ruins in Central America in the 1839. “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” is the one of the largest exhibitions of the ancient Maya ever to be displayed in the United States.
Research and excavation have uncovered a civilization that, during its Classic period from 250 to 900 AD, rivaled any society found in Europe. Without the use of the wheel, the Maya built extensive, massive and elaborate cities that have captured our imaginations for nearly two centuries since discovery.
The exhibit brings together more than 200 authentic artifacts and immersive environments to explore the astonishing accomplishments of one of the most powerful indigenous Mesoamerican civilizations, which still has millions of living descendants today.
Visitors will learn how the Maya built towering temples and created an intricate calendar system while discovering what archaeologists have uncovered about the once-hidden ancient Maya and the unresolved questions about why these ancient cities declined so rapidly. Through interactive activity stations complete with video and simulations, guests can learn cultural and architectural techniques, view an ancient burial site and more.
Presented in both English and Spanish, “Maya” gives visitors a glimpse at Maya life – from mighty kings who ruled powerful cities to the artisans and laborers who formed the backbone of their society. Visitors will also get a close look at the scientific work being carried out at key Maya sites across Central America to understand exactly what is known of the ancient Maya culture.
“This fascinating exhibition is filled with hundreds of authentic artifacts that provide a glimpse into the mysterious world of the Maya,” VP of Programming and Collections, Dr. Bobbi Hohmann said. “’Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed’ is also very interactive and experiential, allowing you to try your hand at building Maya architecture, putting together pottery, creating textile patterns, and even exploring how the Maya drilled teeth.”
Hands-on activities dig into Maya life during the Classic period. Visitors will have a chance to build corbeled arches, explore tombs, investigate the Maya understanding of math and astronomy, and more.
Visitors can explore Maya architecture — from awe-inspiring temples to the simple homes of common people — including a recreated portion of a famous frieze (a richly ornamented exterior wall portion) from the El Castillo pyramid in Xunantunich, a Maya civic ceremonial center. Guests will marvel at its size and detail, and then watch as modern technology is used to make the ancient frieze’s vivid colors emerge once again to their original vibrancy.
Guests can also view a replica of a large-scale carved monument, or stelae, that was erected in the great plaza of a Maya city. Their inscriptions have given scholars valuable insight into ancient Maya history — from royal succession to political conflicts and great battles.
The exhibit also features a re-creation of the elaborate royal tomb of the Great Scrolled Skull in Santa Rita Corozal, a Maya site in Belize. Visitors will see the full tomb assemblage, which features jade, jewels, pottery and more, and explore the fascinating story that the artifacts reveal about the politics and economics of this Maya city
“Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” will be on view daily until May 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., along with evening hours during select events.
The exhibit is included with general admission and is free for Fernbank members. Timed, online tickets are required in advance online at $20 for adults, $19 for seniors and $18 for children. To purchase tickets or view pre-visit information, frequently asked questions, safety protocols and more, please visit FernbankMuseum.org.