Tourists continue to flock to museums in the Riviera Maya this year, and soon, they will have even more to choose from.
Three museums will soon open in the region, including one at Chichen Itza, the Puuc Archaeological Park, and the Dzibilchaltun Archaeological Zone.
This comes as officials take note of statistics showing that tourists are more interested than ever in visiting museums to learn about the region’s cultural heritage.
According to Mexican government statistics, more than 270,000 people visited museums in the state in 2022.
Cancun lovers were particularly likely to visit a museum during their trips; the Cancun Maya Museum saw 50% more visitors in 2022 than in 2021.
Over 80% of the 270,000 museumgoers had never visited their museum before, showing that people are looking for new ways to learn about Mesoamerican civilization.
The government is picking up on the trend. With the completion of the Maya Train set to increase tourism throughout the entire Yucatan Peninsula, more museums are opening to share pre-Hispanic culture with the world.
Let’s take a look at some of the new museums tourists will want to check out next year:
Chichen Itza Museum
Chichen Itza is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and consistently the most visited archaeological zone in Mexico.
Iconic landmarks like the Pyramid of Kukulkan and the Ball Game Court attract visitors from all over the world who want to experience the achievements of the Mayan civilization.
In addition to visiting archaeological zones to learn more about Mayan culture, government statistics show that visitors also flock to museums.
In 2022, the Cancun Mayan Museum was the most visited public museum in the country.
Soon, tourists will be able to learn about Mayan history while visiting Chichen Itza itself.
The new museum will be called “Chichen Viejo” and will house over 800 historical artifacts to be seen by the public for the first time.
The Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) is investing over $14 million to renovate a former museum and create Chichen Viejo.
To this day, the Mexican Secretariat of Culture and INAH conduct anthropological fieldwork at Chichén Itzá, discovering more artifacts to be displayed at museums.
Since Mexican law requires an archaeological review of all infrastructure projects, the construction of the Maya Train has led to the discovery of many new archaeological sites and artifacts to display in the museum.
Nevertheless, these discoveries are bittersweet for archaeologists since construction crews bulldozed many sites to make way for the train soon after their discovery.
In addition, the train runs through current Mayan civilization centers, not just historical ones. Since the train risks water contamination and other problems in their communities, many Mayans doubt whether the train will benefit them.
While it does not address the concerns of either community directly, the Chichen Itza Museum hopes to recognize Mayan civilization amidst the controversies.
Chichen Itza is not the only archaeological zone in the Yucatan that will have a new museum shortly.
The Kabah Archaeological Zone, located about 10 miles south of Uxmal, Yucatan, will host the Puuc Museum.
Like the Chichen Itza Museum, the Puuc Museum will showcase artifacts discovered during the Maya Train construction. It will display artifacts from the Puuc people, who are renowned for their beautiful architecture.
Dzibilchaltun Site Museum
After completing the Maya Train this December, Merida, Yucatan, is sure to see a significant increase in tourism.
Many who visit will want to stop by Dzibilchaltun Archaeological Zone, which is less than ten miles from the city.
This Mayan site is most well known for the Temple of the Seven Dolls, which held great astronomical significance.
In preparation for the ruins, the Dzibilchaltun Site Museum is being rebuilt to showcase artifacts that highlight life in urban areas for Mesoamericans in the region.
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