Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) opened a $15 million Maya Museum in Cancun recently,reported USA Today. In the works for six years,the museum is home to more than 350 ancient artifacts,many of which have never before been on public display.
“It is a museum that has an archaeological collection that would be very difficult for another museum to have,” shared Adrian Velazquez of INAH. “It has the most impressive collection of archaeology in [the state of] Quintana Roo that you could see in one place. It has a very important display of Mayan archaeology from different regions.”
When asked about the fact that the museum’s opening coincides with the upcoming end to the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21,local tourism officials told USA Today that it is “an incredibly exciting season that marks the end of the Mayan calendar and the beginning of a new era.”
The new museum will feature exhibits such as 14,000-year-old skeletal remains that were discovered in underwater caves near Tulum,as well as intricate artwork,decorative pottery and a timeline of the different eras of the Maya,dating all the way back to 350 BCE. After dominating the region for more than 2,000 years,the ancient Mayans abandoned their cities around 900 ACE for reasons that remain a mystery to modern scientists.
The museum complex will cover 55,000 square feet at its location in the Hotel Zone of Cancun real estate,which lies next to the San Miguelito archaeological site. More than 12 million visitors already make the annual trek to Cancun,which is Mexico’s number one vacation destination,and officials believe the museum will attract at least one million visitors each year.
Admission for adults is merely $5,while children 12 and under,as well as retirees age 60 and older,will enjoy free entry. This makes the new museum yet another of the many family-friendly and senior-friendly attractions found throughout the Riviera Maya.