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New Museum Will Be Built In Merida For Mayan Artifacts Found In Maya Train Construction

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Millions Will Be Spent On Creating A Home For The Vast Collection Of Mayan Finds In The Region

A new museum is to be created in Merida for the purpose of housing the massive array of Mayan discoveries since the Maya Train Railway System began construction. The museum is slated to open on a partial basis in 2023.

merida square and museum site

The Maya Train Project, the Mexican Government’s biggest tourist infrastructure undertaking, has garnered worldwide attention for its potential to destroy what could be valuable cultural, environmental, and historical findings in the Yucutan Peninsula. While the construction may have potentially destroyed some artifacts, it has uncovered a vast collection that will now be protected in a brand-new museum designed to highlight the Mayan world.

The museum will be located in Merida, the cultural capital of the region and the jumping-off point for many of the region’s most famous Mayan sites, like Chichen Itza. Earlier this year, it was announced that a historical building in the city, the Ateneo Penninsular, was being cleared of all businesses operating on its premises after a lengthy legal battle. It was confirmed this week that the Ateneo will be the site of the new museum.

The building, found next to Merida’s iconic Cathedral, is a stunning colonial structure built in the 1500s and renovated multiple times since then. It has housed the Museum of Contemporary Art of Yucatan since 1994. Reports are unclear as to whether the MCAY will be impacted by the addition of the Maya Train museum. Based on the eviction of other tenants, it is possible that another part of the building will be used.

ateneo penninsular building

The project is set to cost millions as the old building is in need of some important renovations and improvements to be able to house such a large number of items.

The scale of finds in the construction process is truly astonishing and doubles down on the region’s value as a cultural destination as much as a beach and resort one. According to the head of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, more than 25 thousand individual locations have been discovered in the area. This doesn’t mean that every site is a Mayan settlement or the like, but there have been many unique dig sites. These could be skeletal remains, pottery, or tools.

merida central square

Among the finds are 1385 personal items, 423 sets of bones, 575 thousand ceramic fragments, and at least 431 fully intact pieces of pottery or other vessels. One particularly interesting find is a Mayan canoe.

Of course, some of the finds cannot be moved. One huge discovery was made just weeks ago when more than three hundred structures were discovered, with some as tall as eight meters. It’s a massively significant find and adds yet another Mayan ruin for tourists to visit in the future.

mayan relics

The future of the Yucutan region is exciting. Although it has its critics, the Maya Train Project will change the face of tourism in the region. The Mexican Riviera is not known as a cultural destination and mainly pulls sun-seekers with little or no interest in the surrounding area.

tulum ruins

While this is proving a successful model and allows the region’s popularity to soar, an entire demographic of travelers have no interest in the likes of Tulum and Cancun. The Maya Train could change all that. Tourists could be based in one of the world-class resorts and effortlessly traverse the rest of the peninsula, visiting some of the most famous attractions in the world, like Chichen Itza, which will have its own stop and a new museum. The project has the potential to fuse together both the resort lifestyle and cultural tourism, increasing the value massively.

merida central square

While other infrastructure projects are also underway, the Tulum Airport will have to wait. Construction was halted last week to allow for other ventures, including the museum, to go ahead with funding. It is unclear if and when construction will resume.

The new museum is expected to partially open in the second half of 2023 before a full opening the next year.

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