Join us for a lecture by one of the University of Pennsylvania's top graduate students along with a genuine Peruvian mummy! After the lecture, we will have lunch in the Cafe, then proceed to the Maya 2012 exhibit complete with a guided audio tour. We will then be free to walk about the rest of the museum.
This event, of course, is entirely contingent on the world NOT ending. If the world does, in fact, end, this event will be cancelled and I will not be able to refund you. [/sarcasm]
- 11:00 am - 12:00 Noon: Maya Lecture with David McCormick, graduate student of Dr. Loa Traxler (the curator of the Maya 2012 exhibit)...and the Mummy
- 12:00 Noon - 1:00 pm: Lunch at the Pepper Mill Cafe (MENU)
- 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm: Maya 2012 Exhibit
- 2:30 pm - 5:00 pm: Museum Free Time
*Click here for Parking and Transit Information*
MAYA 2012 leads visitors on a journey through the Maya’s time-ordered universe, expressed through their intricate calendar systems, and the power wielded by their divine kings, the astounding “lords of time.” Visitors explore the Maya world through a range of interactive experiences and walk among sculptures and full-sized replicas of major monuments while uncovering the truth behind these apocalyptic predictions.
The exhibition features more than 150 remarkable objects, including artifacts recently excavated by Penn Museum archaeologists at the site of Copan, Honduras, and on loan from the Instituto Hondureño de Antropologia e Historia. Visitors follow the rise and fall of Copan, moving across the centuries to discover how Maya ideas about time and the calendar have changed up to the present day. Contemporary Maya speak to their own heritage and concerns for the future.
“MAYA 2012 offers visitors a rare opportunity to view spectacular examples of Classic Maya art—some of which have never before been seen outside Honduras—and delve into the Maya people’s extraordinary, layered, and shifting concepts about time,” noted Exhibition Curator Dr. Loa Traxler. “MAYA 2012: Lords of Time uncovers a history and culture far richer and more surprising than commonly supposed.”
Dr. Traxler, Mellon Associate Deputy Director of the Penn Museum and co-author of The Ancient Maya, (Sixth Edition,2006), is an archaeologist who excavated at the site of Copan from 1989 through 2003. Simon Martin, Associate Curator of the Museum’s American Section and a leading Maya epigrapher, is co-curator of the exhibition.
What is the 2012 Phenomenon?
In recent years, the media have been filled with claims that the ancient Maya predicted a cataclysmic event at the end of their calendar. Some believe that a celestial alignment will bring a series of devastating natural disasters. Others argue that this event will bring enlightenment and a new age of peace. As December 2012 draws closer, new predictions continue to emerge. But what did the Maya really believe?
The Maya and their Calendar
The ancient Maya civilization has long fascinated scholars and the public alike. For 2,000 years, the Maya flourished in southern Mexico and parts of Central America, their grand cities featuring temple pyramids, palaces, ball courts, and intricately carved stone monuments bearing royal portraits and a complex hieroglyphic script. They excelled in art, architecture, astronomy, and mathematics—developing a calendar system that amazes and intrigues to this day.
The exhibition invites the visitor to explore the ancient Maya’s complex, interlocking calendar systems, which were based on an advanced understanding of astronomy and the night sky. Their most elaborate system, the Long Count, encompasses trillions of years, and one of its important cycles comes to a close on December 23, 2012 (some scholars say December 21, 2012). This is the origin of the Maya 2012 “end of the world” phenomenon.
Highlights of this section include an immersive re-creation of a Maya pyramid, and opportunities to create your own Maya name in hieroglyphs and to calculate your birthdate within the Maya calendar.
See you then!