Maya civilization exhibit opens at Union Station Friday

Union Station is unveiling their Great Jaguar Rises Exhibition.
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 9:01 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Union Station is unveiling their Great Jaguar Rises Exhibition featuring a 1,400-year-old jaguar warrior artifact Friday morning.

The warrior was cut into two separate pieces and then put back together inside the exhibit space. It is 1,500 pounds that shows a warrior posing in a dance covered in jewels and rich history.

Visitors can also see 300 more original objects that range from locations dating back to 250 A.D. to the 20th century, including a Jade Mosaic Mask that individuals can check out inside a glass case. There is a replica available outside of the glass that people can touch and feel.

Executive Vice President and COO at Union Station Jerry Baber said it was a process to get the artifacts accepted for travel by Guatemalans and transported to Kansas City. He said many of the people they were working with to get them there were uncomfortable, but they worked through it.

“We’re talking about a very advanced culture that was dominant from, like, 200 B.C. to 900 A.D. and you’ll learn about their advancements in science, engineering, medicine, mathematics, and we say that story and learn all this through the hieroglyphics that they left us,” he said.

Curators and organizers said it will showcase their findings and lifestyle across generations and create a landscape of how they lived and still live as Maya are still residing in Guatemala.

Union Station President and CEO George Guastello said it builds upon their want to be the voice of the city as it promotes inclusivity and diversity.

He expects at least 70,000 people to see the exhibit this season. It was set to open in May 2022, but delays caused it to open in mid-August.