In mid-September, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History will feature a new temporary exhibit, "Guatemalan Textiles: Heart of the Maya World." Opening to the public Sept. 14 in the museum’s second-floor Higginbotham gallery, the exhibit features traditional clothing, called traje, that expresses Guatemalan and Mayan culture.

“We are excited to share the display of clothing of our Guatemalan Mayan culture, hoping that visitors can appreciate the symbolism of our tradition that is found within our typical colorful costumes,” said Manuel Ajquejay, vice-consul of the Guatemalan Consulate General of Oklahoma City.

All of the outfits selected to be on display are a part of the Sam Noble museum’s ethnology collection. Many of the outfits were originally donated from Texas A&M University and John C. Pitzer.

“We worked closely with the museum to choose each of the outfits, selecting the most outstanding Mayan textiles,” Ajquejay said. “They were made by Guatemalan artisan women and take months to process due to their elaborate nature. They are often used at events such as weddings, holidays and other special occasions.”

In addition to the embroidered and brocaded traditional blouse (huipil) and skirt ensemble, textiles such as waist sashes, shawls and headwraps will be on display. These textiles are handwoven using types of artisanal looms. The exhibit will be trilingual in English, Spanish and K’iche’, a native language of Guatemala.

On Sept. 13, the museum will host an event commemorating the bicentennial anniversary of Guatemalan independence. Dignitaries and officials of the Oklahoma government, as well as the Diplomatic Consular Corps and guests from the Guatemalan community, are invited to the private event.

The Consulate General of Guatemala is the first consular mission from Central America in Oklahoma, having opened its doors in September 2017. Its jurisdiction for the service of the Guatemalan community includes Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri.

"Guatemalan Textiles: Heart of the Maya World" will be on display through Dec. 6.

The museum is located on the OU Norman campus at J. Willis Stovall Road and Chautauqua Avenue. For accommodations, call 325-7977 or visit   

The University of Oklahoma encourages masking indoors, and masking is encouraged for all individuals in high-density settings, such as at special events. More information on OU’s COVID-19 protocols is available at

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