Shakeup coming to sleepy Mundo Maya museum

Museo del Mundo Maya in Merida, Yucatan
The Museo del Mundo Maya light show, which used to catch the attention of passers by on the Prolongacíon, has mysteriously stopped. Photo: Courtesy

Mérida, Yucatán — Lacking an abundance of programming, visitors and revenue, Gran Museo del Mundo Maya is getting ready for a big shakeup.

The state’s new culture secretary, Erika Millet Corona, has asked for six-months to study how to revive what she calls a white elephant.

A change in staffing will bring an opportunity to energize the large, modern facility, which opened in 2012.

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Built with grand ambitions, the massive complex has become a veritable ghost town. Even the nightly video-mapping light show has ceased, a decision Millet Corona cannot explain.

“The video mapping is in good condition and the reasons why it stopped showing up at night are unknown,” she said, adding that a detailed analysis is necessary.

With the museum, the still-new state administration inherited the financial burden, but officials see untapped economic potential at the museum.

To energize the facility, the museum plans to integrate programming with other institutions, expand cultural offerings, improve the rooms’ conditions and promote the site more aggressively.

The Great Museum of the Mayan World, as it is known in English, was built under the administration of Ivonne Ortega Pacheco, with a PPS-type financing (Project for Provision of Services), with Banco Interacciones, of the Hank Rhon family.

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When it opened, the state government agreement to cover payments of about 143 million pesos annually for 20 years, with the work as a whole costing some 770 million pesos. In 2016, the museum earned a reported 20,988 pesos while costing 605,870 pesos each day.

But special programming has been scant. No special exhibits are on the current schedule. It was in the spotlight most recently when it hosted a televised presidential debate last summer.

Celebrating Maya culture, the Gran Museo houses more than 1,100 artifacts, including a reclining chac-mool sculpture from Chichén Itzá. It also has a gift shop, meeting rooms and a theater.

The contemporary building was designed in the form of a ceiba tree, which is sacred to Maya who believe it to connect the earth with the heavens.

The culture secretary has a resume that suits her current challenge. Millet Corona was in charge of programming in 2017 when Mérida was named the Cultural Capital of the Americas. Back then, the city’s mayor was Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal, who today is governor of Yucatán.

Source: Diario de Yucatán

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