Stone monuments from Belize depicting powerful kings. Glimmering gold pendants from Costa Rica. Colorful textiles from Guatemala. The Penn Museum’s spectacular collection of art and artifacts from Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Costa Rica across 3,000 years will be showcased in a new gallery that celebrates craftsmanship and culture. The Mexico & Central America Gallery will also explore the Museum’s long history of archaeological excavations in the region—uncovering temples, tombs, royal residences, and more—and its groundbreaking discoveries in deciphering hieroglyphics.
Anchored by spectacular monumental pieces like the famous Stela 14 (758 CE) from Piedras Negras, Guatemala, the gallery will tell the story of major civilizations in Mexico and Central America like the Maya, Aztec, and Zapotec. It will explore how power was long visualized in the Americas through depictions of rulers, deities, and cosmological symbols. The gallery will also include new cases for rotating displays that showcase the Museum’s collection of stunning textiles from Guatemala.
Development of the Mexico & Central America Gallery is led by Director of Exhibitions & Public Programs Kate Quinn and Dr. Simon Martin, Associate Curator and Keeper of the American Section, co-curator of the Museum’s Maya 2012: Lords of Time exhibition, and a world expert in Maya glyph writing.
Penn Museum Object Number: 62-11-1
Penn Museum Object Number: SA4513
Penn Museum Object Number: 61-1-2