Do you know your Maya name? Mine is Radiant Sky. I actually chose my own Maya name in an interactive exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science’s new Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed (Mundos Ocultos Revelados) exhibit. Choosing a Maya name is just one of the dozens of ways for kids of all ages to learn about this unique culture.
The Maya exhibit—the largest of its kind ever displayed in the United States–is in the museum’s new addition, the Anschutz Gallery. Families who have been to previous special exhibits at the museum will be amazed at the size of this new space, which is joined with the existing Phipps Special Exhibit Gallery on Level 3. It is part of the new Morgridge Family Exploration Center, which also opened this year.
The mood is set when you enter the gallery and sense a slight humidity in the air, which gives the place a tropical feel (this ambience is a byproduct of climate control to preserve artifacts on display) as you sit and watch the introductory movie. Construction? Math? Astronomy? Costumes? Games? Weaving? It is simply incredible what the ancient Maya accomplished and what can be learned not just about them but from them in this exhibit.
Volunteers are on hand to give visitors another dimension to learning about the Maya culture by doing various tasks with guests throughout the exhibit as well. Older children may be drawn to the areas about death and burial rituals, while younger children might enjoy matching games and dressing up. Personally, I just wanted to stay and stargaze longer.
As always, you exit through the gift shop—a new and improved gift shop!—that lets you take home trinkets and more educational materials on the Maya. The exhibit is up through Aug. 24, 2014. Reservations are strongly recommended and tickets are for timed entry.
Go to www.dmns.org to get more details.
By Mindy Sink