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Posted by Katie Sagal, guest blogger of Smart Destinations

Looking to escape the modern world for a while?
Why not explore Ancient Mesoamerica in Cambridge? In one day, you can cover two new exhibits at local museums, getting a full day of cultural exploration for the whole family.
Begin at the Museum of Science. Spend a few hours with the kids, roaming the brand new “Maya: Hidden World Reveals” installation. Touted as the “largest exhibition of its kind in the United States,” the exhibit features an impressive array of historical artifacts and educational material that explore the many wonders of this sophisticated, classical culture.
Inside, guests can track the rise and fall of this ancient civilization through social, cultural, political, and religious themes. The exhibit includes unique relics (many of which are on loan from the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology) in recreated environments, designed so the viewer can experience Mayan culture as it may have been at its peak. Visitors can also dig into hands-on activities and interactive, multi-media elements.

Photo by the President and Fellows of Harvard College

Then, hop on a bus to Harvard Square and visit the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Its “Encounters with the Americas” Hall features the museum’s own prominent collection from pre-Columbian South American civilizations, including the Classic Maya and Post-Classic Aztec civilizations.
Learn all about the religion, social life, and agriculture of these groups both pre- and post-1492, as you watch the changes brought about by contact with European missionaries and colonizers. Like the Museum of Science exhibition, the permanent collection at the Peabody Museum highlights the contemporary concerns of the descendants of these classical civilizations. While you’re at the Peabody Museum, the new “Arts of War” exhibit is well worth seeing, too, as it explores the aesthetic valences of weapons in multiple cultures.

Photo by the President and Fellows of Harvard College

Both museums also feature a selection of relevant publications regarding these exhibits, should you choose to continue your research into the immersive history of Mayan culture. After a full day spent exploring these exciting cultural offerings, celebrate with a dinner in Harvard, Inman, or Davis Square in Somerville. You’ll find several options for Peruvian cuisine, including Macchu Picchu and Mixtura  – the perfect end to a very Mayan day!
This post was submitted by Katie Sagal of Smart Destinations