Milwaukee Public Museum
Press Release

Unlock the Ancient Secrets of Maya at the Milwaukee Public Museum

Limited Engagement: February 10 – May 28, 2018

By - Jan 24th, 2018 02:33 pm

Milwaukee, WI. – The Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) will host the Wisconsin engagement of Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed, the largest exhibition about the ancient Maya ever to be displayed in the United States, on Saturday, February 10. This special exhibit uses authentic artifacts, immersive environments and hands-on activities to explore the rise and fall of the Maya civilization.

Its Classic Period (250-900 AD) rivaled any European society; the Maya built elaborate cities without the use of the wheel, communicated using a sophisticated written language, measured time accurately with detailed calendar systems and had an advanced understanding of astronomy and agriculture. Its decline remains a hotly debated topic today among researchers.

“Once referred to as the ‘mysterious Maya’, our basic understanding of this fascinating early American civilization has changed drastically in the past few decades,” said Carter Lupton, Curator Emeritus, Ancient History, Milwaukee Public Museum. “Visitors to this exhibit will learn of new archaeological approaches, exciting major finds and the dramatic progress in hieroglyphic translation through beautiful objects, massive replicas, informational videos and fun interactives.”

Created by the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the Museum of Science, Boston, Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed uncovers the mysteries and brings the culture’s people, architecture, artistry and rituals to life.

Exhibit Highlights

  • Dozens of hands-on activities that dig into Maya life during the Classic period. Visitors will have a chance to decipher glyphs, build corbelled arches, explore tombs, investigate the Maya understanding of math and astronomy and more.
  • More than 300 authentic artifacts, including spectacular examples of Maya artistry made by masters of their craft, along with objects from everyday life.
  • An underworld cave and examination of the concepts of ritual and human sacrifice that allowed the Maya to transcend the earthly world and speak with the gods of the underworld. Visitors will see the concepts of death and rebirth – concepts that were essential to the Maya – arise again and again throughout the exhibition.
  • Several replica large-scale carved monuments, or stelae, that were erected in the great plazas of Maya cities. Their inscriptions have given scholars valuable insight into ancient Maya history – from royal succession to political conflicts and great battles.
  •  An exploration of awe-inspiring temples. Visitors will see a huge re-created portion of a famous frieze, or richly ornamented exterior wall portion, from the El Castillo pyramid in Xunantunich, a Maya civic ceremonial center.
  • A re-creation of the elaborate royal tomb of the Great Scrolled Skull in Santa Rita Corozal, a Maya site in Belize, which features jade, jewels, pottery and more.

Visitor Information

Maya Hidden Worlds Revealed will be at MPM from February 10 through May 28, 2018 and is presented in English and Spanish. Tickets are currently available for purchase by visiting or by calling 414-278-2728. Admission to Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed will be by timed ticket only and includes general admission: $25 adults, $18 seniors (65+) and $16 youth (5-12). Children under 4 are free. Prices are subject to change.

MPM members tickets are $7 for adults, $4 seniors and $4 youth. Members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to the see exhibition on February 9 before it opens to the public. For more information on how to become a MPM member, visit or call 414-278-6170.

About the Milwaukee Public Museum

The Milwaukee Public Museum is a natural and human history museum located in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Museum was chartered in 1882 and opened to the public in 1884. MPM has three floors of exhibits that encompass life-size dioramas, walk-through villages, world cultures, dinosaurs, a rainforest, and a live butterfly garden as well as the Daniel M. Soref National Geographic Dome Theater & Planetarium. The Museum houses more than 4 million objects and hosts some half a million visitors each year.

MPM is operated by Milwaukee Public Museum, Inc., a private, non-profit company, and its facilities and collections are held in trust and supported by Milwaukee County for the benefit of the public.

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