Maya of Belize Exhibition Warms up Frozen Minnesota
Belizean Maya Artefacts Shine at Major Display In Minnesota
A major exposition of Belizean Maya artefacts currently on display at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St Paul is being promoted by its curators as being the largest collection of Belizean artefacts ever shown in one location.
And Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed is already drawing crowds and rave reviews, with some 3,000 visitors sharing the experience on some days.
Due to an arrangement with Belize’s National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), some 200 of the 300 artefacts on display come from Belize, and some have been excavated less than a year ago. Curator Dr Ed Fleming considers it a major coup both for the Minnesota museum and Belize.
The exhibition has its genesis when Dr Fleming participated in an archaeological field school in Belize that was directed by Dr Jaime Awe in the mid-1990s. Now, 20 years later, having earned a doctorate in archaeology and acting as the Science Museum of Minnesota’s curator of archaeology, Dr Fleming brought in his former mentor, Belize’s Dr Jaimie Awe to insure the exhibition’s integrity.
Many of you will know Dr Jaime Awe as perhaps the world’s most well regarded Mayanist. He is also Director of Belize’s Institute of Archaeology when he’s not engaged in Indiana Jones adventures such as exploring ceremonial Maya sites caves and newly discovered archaeological sites.
In addition to overseeing the loaning of important artefacts to the museum for the next few years, Dr Awe is working with Dr Fleming’s team to ensure that the exhibition works as an experience that draws visitors into the ancient Maya civilisation, from the ruling, spiritually active elite to common village life.
It will also draw attention to the fact that Belize is the Heartland of Maya civilisation, as the Belize Natural History Centre has been emphasising for years. Dr Fleming agrees that Belize’s role in that regard has been downplayed, and he hopes the Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed will rectify that lack of perception.
“We now know that Belize is really in the heartland, in the centre, of the Maya world,” he said.
And now many more people will too.
The exhibition is expected to travel to Denver, San Diego and finally to Boston in 2016, so hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people will get a taste of ancient Belizean Maya life in what will be the largest exhibition ever staged by the Science Museum of Minnesota.
And, of course, people can still come to Belize to have a taste of Maya village life though the homestay programs in Maya villages today, where day-to-day life and many customs remain largely unchanged. Check out http://www.southernbelize.com/homestays.html to learn more about Maya village homestays.
And, of course Chaa Creek’s 365 acre private nature reserve is filled with some 70 Maya sites, as well as the Maya Medicinal Plant trail, Maya Organic Farm, the Belize Natural History Centre and the eco resort offers all-inclusive Maya vacation packages (see http://www.chaacreek.com/the-optimum-belize-vacation/).
While the Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed exhibition is obviously not as mind blowing as actually walking around Belize’s ancient Maya archaeological sites such as the ancient metropolis of Caracol or the artefact-rich Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, it is the next best thing to being there. Check it out https://www.smm.org/maya to get a taste and learn more about Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed.