Grand Maya World Museum
The Grand Mayan World Museum which was designed by architects, Josefina Rivas Acevedo, Enrique Duarte Aznar, Ricardo Combaluzier Medina, and William Ramirez Pizarro was built in 2012. This museum occupies about two hectares of an estate, which lies on the sides of XXI Century Convention Center and Paseo Montejo Prolongacion avenue North of Merida. The architecture of this building resembles the Ceiba or Ya’axche tree which unites the three levels, which are the sky, earth, and underworld of the Mayan Universe. The Maya pictured the tree branches supporting the sky and the roots infiltrating the underworld but in their mythology it was also connected to fertility and cosmic stability which is why the architects integrated the Ceiba tree of Mayan world into the halls, gardens, exhibition halls, and patios.
Bringing together the past and the present in techniques was a key point in the architectures goal for this building. The sliding cramp, which was a necessary tool to create the geometric figure and limestone or sahkab which was used in the Pre-Hispanic times were brought together as one to imitate the Ceiba tree of the Mayan Universe. The museum has four exhibition hall collections that include anthropology, archaeology, ethnography, and history/customs of the Yucatan Mayan civilization. The exterior of the museum is decorated by an installation made by the French artist Xavier de Richmond which includes 5 acts and 34 images that were inspired by Mayan culture and traditions. It is displayed on the outside walls of the building that also include light, color, and music making it different every minute. Within the museum it exhibits what the Mayans worshiped instead of what they built especially the Ceiba tree which appears more than once throughout the museum.
Exhibiting over 1,200 pieces in the museum it allows people to enjoy various aspect of Mayan life. The Chicxulub Aerolito room presents the last extinction which occurred during the Mesoamerica era. This extinction happened over 65 million years ago and is said to have happened by an asteroid about 10 kilometers in diameter falling in Yucatan. The evidence is located in the crater of Chicxulub and this exhibition allows you to learn about the history of life. Room 1 contains pieces of the Mayab Nature and Culture, the Mayab is located on the peninsular flat region with subterranean fresh water and very little soil. This region is home to mangroves, jungles, swamps and savannahs. After three thousand years of occupation they left a mark on the region with the help of agriculture. Room 2 is Mayas de Hoy which translates to The Mayas of today. The Mayas were diverse in many ways but were related culturally, physically, linguistically yet a single form of Mayas did not exist. Each having their own dialect and adapting to practicing their ancestors customs in their own way. Room 3 is Mayas of Yesterday which exhibits the conquest and transformation of the Mayan culture. Cities were destroyed and abandoned because the Indians had to undergo the demands of the Spaniards. The Last room is Ancient Mayas, which offers the history of the ancient Maya and elaborates on a lesson that although they connected with diverse environments they still knew how to improve their quality of life and expand their culture without destroying it.
The Mayas faced natural disasters, oppression, and overcrowding but they still managed to maintain their traditions by strengthening their family ties. And, this museum offers an insight into the Mayan universe that to this day has left an impact.