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Tikal’s Temple I at dusk, taken during the Maya Society’s 2019 trip to northern Guatemala. Photo by Brent K.S. Woodfill

Our Story

The Maya Society of Minnesota was founded by staff of the Science Museum of Minnesota, University of Minnesota students and faculty, and members of the general public who were interested in Maya archaeology in 1978. Over the years, we have drawn leading scholars in archaeology, epigraphy, and art history; Indigenous activists, scientists, and leaders; and artists, authors, and chefs to speak to a diverse audience at our home at Hamline University in St. Paul.

As the pandemic upended every aspect of our lives beginning in 2020, we adapted by entering the virtual world in order to continue to provide a platform for our speakers to discuss cutting-edge research and pressing issues while stay-at-home orders were in place. As we went online, people from around the world found their way to our talks, expanding our reach far outside of the Twin Cities metro area.

As the world began to open again in the 2021/2022 academic year, we began to offer both in-person and virtual options for attending most of our events. We host monthly lectures during the academic year on Friday nights, typically followed by an in-depth workshop on a specific theme the following Saturday morning. We also arrange regular trips to archaeological sites in Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala (on pause until the global health situation stabilizes), and participate in a range of local and regional festivals and other events.

The Maya Society of Minnesota has always been funded through memberships and donations.  Please register on-line or in-person to continue to enjoy the extraordinary knowledge and insights of our speakers.  We encourage you to enroll at the highest level possible and consider additional donations, which are critical to our continued existence.   Donate Here.

Maya Society Board

Executive Officers

  • Brent Woodfill, President
  • Phyllis Messenger, Secretary
  • Art MacWilliams, Treasurer
  • Tom Olson, Program Chair, 952-542-9851 (Home)

Board Membership

  • Will Anderson
  • Lisa Berg
  • Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra
  • Chris Evans
  • Ed Fleming
  • Melanie Freimuth
  • Francisco Gonzalez
  • Adam Kaeding
  • Beth McLaughlin
  • Joe Merchak
  • Jim Rock 

Board Advisory Council

  • Wm Barnes
  • Roxanne Gould
  • Brian Hoffman
  • Barb Knoth
  • Skip Messenger
  • Julia Olson (Meche)
  • Sofía Pacheco-Forés
  • Michelle Rich
  • Kaylee Spencer

These Board Advisory Council Members were appointed by the Board for PY 21-22. We wish to acknowledge their work and collaboration on behalf of the Maya Society of Minnesota. 

Download Bylaws here