Maya Exhibit

Mayan's were known for their "glyphs."

Maya’s were known for their “glyphs.”

Today, Kelly and I drove over to the Science Museum in St. Paul to see the Maya:  Hidden Worlds Revealed  exhibit.  We bought tickets for the exhibit and the Omnitheater movie also about the Maya.  We toured the exhibition first and were amazed at the sights we were about to see.  There were many artifacts and interactive exhibits throughout.

The first thing we saw were these beautiful murals.  We walked into the room called, “The Temple of the Murals”.  We loved how colorful they were and so different from one another.  The real The Temple of the Murals  is a long narrow building with 3 rooms atop a low-stepped pyramid base. The interior walls preserve the finest examples of classic Maya painting, otherwise known only from pottery and occasional small faded fragments. Through a fortunate accident, rainwater seeped into the plaster of the roof in such a way as to cover the interior walls with a layer of slightly transparent calcium carbonate.  The walls were painted with kerosene which made the layer over the paintings temporarily transparent, then the murals were extensively and completely photographed and duplicate paintings were made by two different artists.When they discovered these murals, they realized that the Maya people never got the chance to finish them.  The actual architectural site of these murals is located in Bonampak, Mexico.

Such detail~

Such detail from floor to ceiling~

This mural was a gift to the king.  I believe it was a tribute to the Maize God.  The Maya people grew many vegetables and fruits and lived off the land and would be thankful for their crops.  This mural is actually on a vase, so it was made into a wall mural for people to see it larger and all of its details.  Pretty neat.


During our tour, we came across these clothes that were typical of the Maya women.  They also wore lots of jewelry, made out of shells.  These pieces were known as a huipil, skirt and shawl.  It was also a sign of wealth to be a “larger-size” woman.  Times have changed a bit in that area.  But they were still “fashionable.”


We came across this typical house as we were walking about.  Not sure how many people stayed in one house, but I can’t imagine that it was all that roomy inside.

A 'workers' house.

A ‘workers’ house.

I loved this painting.  It is of a shrine outside of a typical Maya house.  Apparently they did this often to praise the Gods.  Many of the working class people were farmers and craftsman.

I would hang this on my wall.

I would hang this on my wall.

The Maya are well known for their monumental architecture and art.  It always amazes me how they build these huge structures and the manpower it involves.  This little gadget that Kelly found, shows how the men had to carry one single block of rock at a time.  You had to find the balance point of this block and it then shows the angle that these men would walk to carry them.  Talk about back breaking!  Kelly says to me, “Those guys must have been buff!”  ha~  I guess so Kel.  It’s a teenager’s point of view.

Kelly demonstrates for me.

Kelly demonstrates for me.

We enjoyed looking at the artifacts and would have loved spending more time here, but we had a movie to get too.  I love these bowls, vases, boxes, pots and even the masks.  They are all so interesting and have such a history to them.  It seems that everything they made, has meaning to it.  You sure don’t see that in our Target bowls.


This mask was found inside the bowl all broken.  Archeologists carefully put it back together again, piece by piece.  So neat~


The Maya people did play some sports.  They used this ball for games like soccer and volleyball.  Here’s the thing… this rubber ball weighs 8 pounds and they couldn’t use their hands or feet to move it….they could only bounce it off their hips.  Ouch!  Many of their games were to the death.

Count me out!

Count me out!

I found this next artifact very interesting.  It was a replica of an altar.  The kings would sacrifice animals on it and offer it to the Gods.  One particular Ruler (Ruler 16), buried 15 jaguars- one for each of his royal predecessors -in a crypt below it.

Cool carvings on the altar.

Cool carvings on the altar.

The Maya’s are known also for the most sophisticated writing system in the ancient Americas.  Everything we read and heard about today used the term “glyphs”, which Kelly and I are assuming is short for hieroglyphs, but we are not sure.  Kelly tried out the hands-on exhibit and picked a name using the choices on the board.  Her new name is “Star Sky”.  Here’s what it would look like in a carved form.  This would take up a lot of paper when your teacher asks you to put your name at the top.

Old forms using new technology.  ha~

Old forms using new technology. ha~

The Maya independently developed advanced writing, mathematics, timekeeping, and a cosmology.  They developed a written language of more than 800 hieroglyphs.  There are still about 30 Maya languages used today, which is helpful to archeologists, for they are now able to read more than 90 percent of the Maya glyphs.

This was a very neat experience and quite educational…and Kelly didn’t mind one bit!  It was well worth going to and I would recommend you seeing it.




  1. That was very interesting,no wonder you had a great day out.i loved the carving on the alter and the colors in the mural were beautiful.
    My question is, has Kelly or should I say ,Star Sky carved her name into a block of wood and displayed it in your lounge yet.
    I think that would be very neat.

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