The anticipation of the December 2012 Doomsday prediction and the Maya calendar is no longer a mystery as the Houston Museum of Science brings the tale to a close with their Maya 2012: Prophecy Becomes History exhibit now on display.
Maya 2012 explores the history about 1,500 years before the arrival of the Spainards and ending in our own time. The exhibit reveals a culture advanced in carvings, paintings, pottery and more. Items on display range from polychrome pottery, stone weapons, jade ornaments, rubbings of Maya monuments as well as a reconstruction of the two rooms from Bonampak, a Maya site famous for its mural paintings. Maya 2012 will be on display until March 31, 2013.
The big question of the Maya calendar and whether December 21, 2012 will be the official “Doomsday” of the world is also addressed at HMNS. Amanda Norris, HMNS spokesperson, explained how the ancient Maya focused on calendars and how they worked and interacted.
“The calendar information pertains to the upcoming date of the December 21, 2012, which in our culture is often presented as a ‘Doomsday.’ In reality, the ancient Maya and their modern descendants did not and still don’t think of the day as marking the end of the world. What it does signify is the end of a long calendrical cycle with the next day marking the first day of another similarly long cycle,” Norris said.
Also on display will be images of two inscriptions found in the Maya area (one of these inscriptions was found just a few months ago) that talk about the Maya date that is the equivalent of our December 21, 2012. These two texts do not say anything about the world coming to an end on that day.
HMNS special events for the Maya 2012 exhibit will feature seminars and a party. They include The 2012 Phenomenon and What Ancient Calendar Keepers Anticipated on November 5 at 6:30 p.m. with Dr. John B. Carlson, Mayan Prophecies at the Planetarium on December 18 at 6:30 p.m. with Dr. Carolyn Sumners, HMNS’s vice president of Astronomy and Physical Science, and The Maya Collapse featuring Dr. Dirk Van Tuerenhout, HMNS Curator of Anthropology, on January 8 at 6:30 p.m.
The LaB 5555 party series will host an “Apocalypto” event on December 21. Details and ticket prices for all events are available at www.hmns.org.
The purchase of a ticket to Maya 2012 will also allow entrance into HMNS’ newest display, Gems of the Medici, a premiere exhibition delving into the history of Florence, Italy’s renowned Medici family. This will also be on display until March 31, 2013. Tickets for both exhibits are $25 adult and $20 for children and seniors.
The Gems of the Medici world-premiere will highlight some of the oldest and most unique pieces of the Medici collections, including antiquities dating from the First Century BCE and a comelian, which was part of the Seal of Nero. For over 300 years, artists, goldsmiths, silversmiths and engravers were funded by the Medici family, who commissioned and collected their masterpieces of art and antiquity.
Norris said visitors can expect to see “one of the finest collections of Gems” from over several centuries owned by the Medici family. “The display is visually stunning. Small intricate pieces of art as well as paintings and busts of the Medici patriarchs will draw visitors into the storyline of the Medici family. The Medici were patrons of world known artists and scholars such as Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Brunelleschi, Galileo and Botticelli. It was because of this family that these artists were allowed to create magnificent pieces and scholars were able to think beyond their time,” she said.
Maya 2012 was organized by the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología, Guatemala City , Guatemala . Gems of the Medici was organized by Contemporanea Progetti, Florence , Italy in collaboration with Museo degli Argenti, Palazzo Pitti and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale Firenze.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is located at 5555 Hermann Park Drive in the heart of the Museum District. For more information, call 713-639-4629.