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Meet the Maya

Press Releases

As Record-Breaking Auschwitz Exhibition Comes To A Close, Union Station Announces Next World-Class Exhibition MAYA: The Great Jaguar Rises to open May 13, 2022

With tickets now on sale, MAYA invites guests on a journey to discover the mysteries of the Maya culture
and includes over 300 stunning original artifacts, many of which have never before left Guatemala

Kansas City, MO – March 8, 2022 – Today, Union Station officials announced MAYA: The Great Jaguar Rises will make its Kansas City debut in the Bank of America Gallery beginning May 13, 2022.

“This major exhibition spotlights the mystery, legacy and resilience of one of the world’s great civilizations — the Maya of Central America — a powerful culture that rose in the tropical rainforests of Guatemala thousands of years ago,” George Guastello, Union Station president and CEO, said. “Through educational experiences like MAYA , we promote understanding and appreciation for peoples from around the world. Their traditions. Their achievements. And their lasting impact on the global tapestry of humanity. In so doing, we hope to bring an undeniable connectedness that transcends time and place.”

The Maya flourished in cities of stone carved into the jungles of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. Their civilization dates as far back as 3400 BCE but reached its height in 600 CE, a period when its population density surpassed every other in the world. Their understanding of science, astronomy and mathematics was equal to or greater than other world cultures. They were early disrupters – inventors, innovators and geniuses whose accomplishments continue to shape our daily lives.

Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises – presented by Bank of America – features over 300 stunning, original objects that detail the fascinating daily life, religion, politics and innovations of the Maya.

“Our partnership with Union Station is enduring and impactful and we are proud to be the presenting sponsor of a world-class encounter with history and culture,” said Matt Linski, President, Bank of America Kansas City. “In the Bank of America Gallery, topics of significance regularly challenge visitors to consider our world in new ways, with fresh and more complete perspectives. All with a goal to help create greater cultural understanding.”

By studying the stars, the Maya developed a calendar more accurate than any other in the world. Their utilization of the number zero opened the door for advanced mathematics. Rubber balls were essential to Maya sports centuries before the “discovery” of vulcanized rubber. And they introduced the world to chocolate.

“From science, medicine, agriculture, complex societies, great cities, monumental architecture, writing and detailed calendar systems . . . this is an astonishing walk with the people, the places they lived and their profound impact on our world still felt today,” Ramón Murguía, Union Station Board Chairman, said. “Through experiences like this, we develop broader and deeper understandings. And with those understandings, authentic appreciation can grow for what we each bring to the table of humankind. We are excited about the chance to embrace what makes us each unique and what binds us together in powerful ways. True strength, after all, lies in our differences as well as our similarities.”

While the exhibition looks back at the height of the Maya civilization, it also acknowledges the millions today who still speak a Mayan language and the many more who are direct descendants. Far from being a lost or ancient civilization, the Maya thrive today in renewed vibrancy.

“With the Maya, we can explore and see how people without any contact to other civilizations in Europe, Africa or Asia came up with similar ideas, inventions and solutions,” say Dr. Nikolai Grube, curator of MAYA: The Great Jaguar Rises and professor of anthropology of the Americas at the University of Bonn. “The Maya civilization was never lost. This was a very romanticized 19th century European perspective on the Maya. What was lost were the big cities in the rainforest. The Maya of today preserve many ideas, languages and forms of living of their ancestors.”

Exhibition Tickets for Individuals, Union Station Members, Groups and School Field Trips are now available and guests are encouraged to secure tickets quickly to lock in their preferred date. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets. Exhibition hours are 10AM – 5PM, every day of the week.

Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises is produced by MuseumsPartner in collaboration with the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (MUNAE) and La Ruta Maya Foundation in Guatemala. It is supported by the Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes de Guatemala.

Adult: $19.50
Child: $14.50
Member Adult & Child: $14
Groups: $10
*Excludes $1.50 preservation fee

Family 4 Pack: $65**
Union Station Member 4 Pack: $55**
** This special pricing is only available thru April 30, 2022, but applies to tickets for full run of show


ABOUT Union Station Kansas City — a 501(c)3 non-profit organization — is a 107-year-old historical landmark and celebrated civic asset renovated and reopened to the public in 1999. Recently awarded “Favorite Attraction”, “Favorite Family-Friendly Attraction” and “Favorite Historic Attraction”, the organization — dedicated to science education, celebration of community and preservation of history — is home to Kansas City’s internationally-awarded Science City; the new Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium; the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre; the popular Model Railroad Gallery; City Stage featuring live theater, and a selection of unique shops and restaurants. Union Station is also home to prominent area civic organizations and businesses, and regularly hosts world-class traveling exhibitions. Awarded “Top Banquet Facilities in KC” by KC Business Journal, the facility annually hosts hundreds of community events and private celebrations of all sizes. Visit WWW.UNIONSTATION.ORG for details. Also, follow us on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM , and YOUTUBE.