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For Immediate Release

Explore an Ancient Civilization that has Captivated our Curiosity for Centuries in Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed

Guests will travel back in time through various interactive pieces, authentic artifacts, dazzling architecture and more in this special exhibition

ATLANTA, February 1, 2021- A world of mystifying tombs, human sacrifice, ancient languages, wonderous architecture and art opens in a new special exhibit at Fernbank on Saturday, February 13, 2021. Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed takes guests on a deep dive into a culture and society that has left us marveling in its awe since discovery of ancient Mayan ruins in Central America in the 1839. Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed is the one of the largest exhibitions of the ancient Maya ever to be displayed in the United States.

Research and excavation have uncovered a civilization that, during its Classic period (250-900 AD), rivaled any society found in Europe. Without the use of the wheel, the Maya built extensive, massive and elaborate cities that have captured our imaginations for nearly two centuries since discovery.

The exhibit brings together more than 200 authentic artifacts and immersive environments to explore the astonishing accomplishments of one of the most powerful indigenous Mesoamerican civilizations, which still has millions of living descendants today. Visitors will learn how the Maya built towering temples and created an intricate calendar system while discovering what archaeologists have uncovered about the once-hidden ancient Maya and the unresolved questions about why these ancient cities declined so rapidly. Through interactive activity stations complete with video and simulations, guests can learn cultural and architectural techniques, view an ancient burial site and more.

Presented in both English and Spanish, Maya gives visitors a glimpse at Maya life – from mighty kings who ruled powerful cities to the artisans and laborers who formed the backbone of their society. Visitors will also get a close look at the scientific work being carried out at key Maya sites across Central America to understand exactly what is known of the ancient Maya culture. Millions of descendants of this mighty Mesoamerican culture still represent their culture and traditions today.

"This fascinating exhibition is filled with hundreds of authentic artifacts that provide a glimpse into the mysterious world of the Maya," said VP of Programming and Collections, Dr. Bobbi Hohmann. "Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed is also very interactive and experiential, allowing you to try your hand at building Maya architecture, putting together pottery, creating textile patterns, and even exploring how the Maya drilled teeth." 

 Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed exhibit highlights include:

  • More than 200 authentic artifacts, including spectacular examples of Maya artistry made by masters of their craft, along with objects from everyday life, are featured. Examples include an inkpot made out of a seashell with remnants of the dried pigment colors hundreds of years after active use, as well as numerous vessels, figurines, and more.
  • Hands-on activities dig into Maya life during the Classic period. Visitors will have a chance to build corbeled arches, explore tombs, investigate the Maya understanding of math and astronomy, and more.
  • Visitors can explore Maya architecture—from awe-inspiring temples to the simple homes of common people—including a recreated portion of a famous frieze (a richly ornamented exterior wall portion) from the El Castillo pyramid in Xunantunich, a Maya civic ceremonial center. Guests will marvel at its size and detail, and then watch as modern technology is used to make the ancient frieze’s vivid colors emerge once again to their original vibrancy.
  • Guests can also view a replica of a large-scale carved monument, or stelae, that was erected in the great plaza of a Maya city. Their inscriptions have given scholars valuable insight into ancient Maya history – from royal succession to political conflicts and great battles.
  • The exhibit also features a re-creation of the elaborate royal tomb of the Great Scrolled Skull in Santa Rita Corozal, a Maya site in Belize. Visitors will see the full tomb assemblage, which features jade, jewels, pottery and more, and explore the fascinating story that the artifacts reveal about the politics and economics of this Maya city
  • Maya also examines 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 – portrayed throughout the exhibition.

Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed was created by the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and the Museum of Science, Boston. For additional information about the exhibition or to purchase tickets, visit or call 404.929.6300.

The exhibit is included with general admission and is free for Fernbank members. Timed, online tickets are required in advance at at $20 for adults, $19 for seniors and $18 for children*.  To purchase tickets or view pre-visit information, frequently asked questions, safety protocols and more, please visit

Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed will be on view daily from Saturday, February 13 through Sunday, May 9, 2021, from 10am to 5pm, along with evening hours during select events.

Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed is sponsored locally by Eve McClatchy Saunders, Genuine Parts Company, PNC, Romanoff Renovations and UPS.


As part of the opening weekend, Fernbank will host Archaeology Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 13, 2021 to embark on an expedition into civilizations and worlds of the past through research and conversations with local archaeologists and anthropologists.

 *Tickets not purchased online are $19.95-$21.95 and may not be available due to safety precautions that limit capacity.



Media Inquiries:

Tyler Thornton, Public Relations Specialist


Fernbank, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, is one of the most popular and iconic cultural destinations in Atlanta. A collection of experiences rooted in science, nature and human culture, the attraction includes a natural history museum, giant screen 3D theater (currently showing all movies in 2D format) and 75 acres of nature adventures that include the largest urban old-growth Piedmont forest in the United States. Visit for more information and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.