The Cockrell Butterfly Center and Wortham Giant Screen Theatre are closed for renovations.

Maya 2012: Prophecy becomes History

This is a closed, past exhibit; it is not available for viewing.

Maya civilization was one of the longest-lived in the Americas. A Stone Age culture, the ancient Maya developed the most advanced writing system in the New World and domesticated plants we all still enjoy eating, for example corn. They thrived in environments ranging from the high altitude mountains in Guatemala, down to the hot and humid rainforest of the Peten and into the parched, shrub-covered plains of the Yucatan Peninsula. Wherever they lived, they left behind monumental architecture, beautiful pottery, and eccentric (in many senses of the word) flint objects. They also excelled in measuring time and did so in a ways similar to ours and in others that appear as very exotic to us. Maya calendrics are at the heart of this exhibition, as we count down to the end of an incredibly long Maya calendrical cycle. This exhibition presents the story of the real Maya which spans over three millennia. Topics include the evolution of kingship, the development of writing and math, astronomy and timekeeping. Information on the latest discoveries, such as a mural showing calendrical computations of a Maya priest, and the uncovering of a second inscription marking the December 21, 2012 date are included. Come visit and find an answer to the question: “What will happen on December 21, 2012?”

Organized by the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología, Guatemala City, Guatemala in cooperation with the Latin American Library at Tulane University. Generously sponsored by HMW Entertainment and The Kislak Family Foundation. Support provided by The Wortham Foundation, Inc.

Curator: Dirk Van Tuerenhout Ph.D.

Dr. Van Tuerenhout joined the Museum staff full-time in 1999. Dirk Van Tuerenhout, Ph.D., Curator of Anthropology Dr. Van Tuerenhout is an expert in human cultures, especially those of Latin America, and is well versed in archaeology and anthropology. He took part in excavations of Late Roman ruins in his….


Stay in the know.
Join our mailing list.