Link to enlarge K6042 (Las Bocas - Ceramic Vessel) THE FOUNDATION RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

Search the Maya Museum Database

Maya Museum Database
by Narin Ros

An online resource, the Maya Museum Database, attempts to give students, scholars, and anyone interested in Maya art a good starting point for their research. Along with a list of Maya collections, the database also provides active features, such as hyperlinks to available homepages and e-mail addresses. Attempting to meet a range of inquiries, I have not only updated addresses and telephone numbers for general information, but I have also included specific telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of directors, curators, and other staff members, as well as departments affiliated with Maya art. As a brief overview of each collection, I have evaluated homepages and have included a list of Maya artifacts focused in each holding.

About the Author

Narin Ros has just earned her Bachelors Degree in English and Art History from California State University, Stanislaus. Her interests in art began after taking a course in Italian Renaissance Art, which impressed her with the extraordinary personalities and ideas of the period. This course alone initiated her love of art that eventually led to a second major. In the fall of 2003, Narin became familiar with collections when she archived slides in the Slide Library Management course, but her most gratifying moments were those shared among students and teachers while creating an exhibition catalogue and the Maya Museum Database. Narin’s collaborative essay, "Imagination and Observation of the Human Figure," and her independent essay on Daniele da Volterra appeared in Drawing in Italy from 1550-1650, edited by Dr. C. Roxanne Robbin, for a 2004 traveling exhibition held in both CSU Stanislaus and the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento. Besides contributing these two essays, Narin also proofread catalogue essays. Grown from a class project in the Pre-Columbian Art course taught by Dr. Hope B. Werness, the Maya Museum Database is her first independent project.

History of the Database

During the Fall of 2004 when our Pre-Columbian Art Professor, Dr. Hope B. Werness, proposed we create a Maya database, we were stunned. It was a great opportunity, a project so big that at that point none of us knew where to begin. With a little guidance from Dr. Werness, we eventually did start—I photocopied the address section of Nikolai Grube’s Maya: Divine Kings of the Rain Forest and found major directories on the web. A fellow student, Lara Stefansdottir, added the museum list in the exhibition catalogue, Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya, edited by Mary Miller and Simon Martin. We also began using The Official Museum Directory and travel guides for additional contact information. By October the whole class was actively involved, divided into the following regional groups: the United States, Mexico, Central America, and Europe (including Canada, Australia, and Japan).

New findings came slowly. Smaller museums located in Central America had virtually no websites, so much of their information was missing. For museums in Mexico, contact information was best found through websites in Spanish. One student from the Europe group corresponded with the museum staff by e-mail, and another member of the United States group even called museums for collection information. At the end of the term, the class recorded 211 Maya collections from around the world. At that point, I compiled all the data from the individual groups into a preliminary database. Two internet sources proved to be crucial. Vanessa Jaime’s discovery of the INAH website became the backbone for the museums in Mexico, and Luca Oliveri’s copy of the Wayeb - Asociación Europea de Mayistas website served as a source for museums in Europe.

After the class was over, with Dr. Werness’ encouragement, I continued to work on the project. I found two additional directories, the CD edition of the International Directory of Arts and Museums of the World and the Museums of the World book edition, both published by K.G. Saur. Waiting to hear from the interlibrary loan desk about the book edition, I personally ordered the CD edition and worked with the disk as soon as it arrived. To my disappointment, much of the information was outdated. Fortunately the museum homepages were active and still useful. A few weeks later, Museums of the World came and I compared the Museums directory to the museum websites, double-checking every listing. This led to the final revision.

I have learned a great deal from this project. I am grateful to Dr. Werness and her daughter Maline Werness, a graduate student at University of Texas at Austin, from whom I learned to what extent the database could benefit the public once housed by a great organization, such as FAMSI. Maline generously took the trouble to discuss this project with scholars during the Maya Meetings held at UTA in mid March. After that event, Maline confirmed that the FAMSI website to be the ideal place for a database geared to reach thousands of students and scholars interested in the Maya.

On behalf of the Pre-Columbian Art class, headed by Prof. Hope B. Werness, of California State University, Stanislaus, it is with great pleasure I donate the Maya Museum Database to the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. With the many hours and effort dedicated in compiling this database, we hope to link the public to the Maya world, with the help of FAMSI.

The Maya Museum Database could not have existed without the original contributors:

Coordinator:     Werness, Hope B.


Burrows, Cathy Carson, Mark Disch, Stephanie
Grimm, Karolyn Gurney, Ryan Gutierrez, Amy
Harkey, Jaymz Helm, Kristen Hennings, Allyson
Hulst, Corrina Jaime, Vanessa Martin, Michelle
Men, Janet Musso, Monica Mustain, Nancy
Oliveri, Luca Ros, Narin Saechao, Mia
Snow, Amanda Stefansdottir, Lara Sullivan, Norah

Search the Maya Museum Database

Return to top of page