Come & see our NEW Exhibits!!!

All new: Inca, Maya, Aztec, and Chinese civilizations!!

See Valuable Artifacts from Long Ago!

See some of the oldest Chinese Inventions and learn about what is was like to be in a Inca, Mayan, or Aztec civilization...

Stop by the Chinese Inventions and find out how they made life easier for everyone.

The Inventions...


As one of the first major civilization began to declined, the Maya began to develop a civilization from what is now present day southern Mexico and down into northern Central America, in this area included the lowlands and the dry forests of the Yucatan Peninsula, and the dense humid jungles Mexico and Guatemala, the area also included the highlands. This is a range of cool mountains stretching from southern Mexico to El Salvador.

Over time, a clear social structure developed, the Mayan king was at the top of this structure, followed by the noble class, made up of priests and leading warriors, the merchants and artisans came next, followed by then the farmers and at the bottom were slaves. Slaves were mostly prisoners captured during wars and tough times for the community.

The Mayan art and learning were also linked to religion. Art was produced for religious purposes. Mesoamerica's tropical climate long ago rotted Mayan art made of wood, bark, feather, and gourds, only certain specially persevered pottery, sculpture, jade work, and steles. (Carved stone slabs) remain today.

But the weather was not bad at the tome for them, it helped a lot for farming.Most Mayan peasants worked as farmers. Some of what the Mayan farmers grew was, maize, beans, squash, chili peppers, avocados, pineapples, and cacao. Maize was the most important crop. The Mayan farmers used a variety of techniques to grow their crops. In the rain forests, they used “slash-and-burn” agriculture. In the highlands, they increased the land available for farming by building terraces. In drier areas, they dug irrigation canals that carried water from streams and rivers to their fields. Some Mayan farmers still use these techniques today.


The Aztecs, who are said to have originated as a nomadic tribe in northern Mexico, arrived in Mesoamerica around the beginning of the 13th century. From their magnificent capital city, Tenochtitlan, the Aztecs emerged as the dominant force in central Mexico, developing a huge social, political, religious and organizations/groups that brought many other the religions to there region.

Aztec farming has become most famous because of the brilliant chinampas system that Aztec farmers used. Certainly there were a number of techniques used in the Aztec empire. But with the great city of Tenochtitlan built on swampy but rich ground, the chinampas became key to the food production of the people.

Chinampas were used throughout the Valley of Mexico around the lake bed. As the empire grew, more sources of food were required. This meant conquering more land, other times it meant expanding the chinampa system.

Chinampas weren't the only type of farming that was used. There were crops on the mainland, as well as gardens, both small personal gardens and large experimental gardens. The gardens were a common feature in the homes of the ruling class. The people would also collect naturally growing food, such as algae in the water.

Farmers grow crops such as maize, beans, and squash. Tomatoes and chilies were also popular crops. But the gardens and particularly the chinampas were used to grow large amounts of flowers, making the Aztec farming land an even more lush and colorful place.


About 600 years ago, the Inca were able to organize an empire through the neighboring people that stretched from the bottom of Chile to northern half of Ecuador along the western side of the Andes mountains. In their reign, they developed their own architectural style, as well as, adapting the city structures of they conquered peoples in order to organize a more controllable empire.

The Inca were the first to grow potatoes and carrots. There were many crops. The big three were corn, potatoes, and quinoa, which is a seed used to make flour and soups.The three staple crops were corn, potatoes, and quinoa. Quinoa seeds were used to make cereal, flour, and soups. They planted grew tomatoes, avocados, peppers, strawberries, peanuts, squash, sweet potatoes, beans, pineapple, bananas, spices, and cocoa leaves to make chocolate. They kept honeybees. The Inca grew more food than they needed. Stored food was dried and kept in special buildings. Because they lived high in the Andes, where it was often cold, it was easy to dry food. First, they left it out to freeze. Then they stamped on it until most of the water was out. They left it out in the sun to finish drying. And presto (dried food.)

The Inca invented terrace farming. They lived in the mountains. Flat lands were rare. So, they simply created flat land by building steps of land for agriculture down the mountainside. This was great for irrigation. Instead of rainwater running down the mountainside, the Inca channeled it through each step. They also built aqueducts to carry water where it was needed.

They were great farmers, with clever solutions to their farming problems.

Mesoamerican Inventions

First Mandatory Schools-->Empire was one of the first places in the world to have mandatory education for everyone. In the years ahead, education was going to become more and more important around the world, but the peoples of the Aztec empire were on the cutting edge. Many countries had education for the upper classes, but for the Aztec education was important no matter what your gender, rank or station.

Popcorn--> The "Aztec invention" really came along long before the time of the Aztecs. However, it was the Aztecs that introduced it to the rest of the world. Groups such as the Zapotec (of Mexico) and Moche (of Peru) popped their own corn long before the days of the Aztecs. But when the Spanish arrived, Hernan Cortes saw popcorn for the first time. It was used as an ornament on headdresses, and to show worship to their god Tlaloc, the god of maize and fertility. According to the website..., The Spanish wrote that the Aztecs had "a kind of corn that bursts when parched and discloses its contents and makes itself look like a very white flower". But still again, not invented by the Aztecs, but still popularized!

Chocolate--> Chocolate was highly valued in the Mayan culture, it was actually used as currency. The Aztecs valued the cacao bean as well, and demanded it be a part of tribute. Then they created xocoatl (a word meaning bitter tasting water), which was similar to drinks the Mayans had made before them. This was a spicy, hot chocolate drink that was popular among the upper classes. It was actually a mix of cacao beans, corn flour, water and chilies.

This would evolve into a number of hot chocolate like drinks. When the Spanish came, they introduced the wonders of sugar. And so this evolved into the hot chocolates and mochaccinos that are enjoyed around the world today.

Chewing gum-->

Chewing gum was discovered by more than one culture in the new world. The Mayans, for one, discovered that they could take the thick milky liquid from the sapodilla tree (an evergreen tree) and harden it into gum. The liquid was "chicle", a word you can still hear on street corners in Mexico from vendors selling chewing gum.

When the Spanish arrived, they found Aztec prostitutes on street corners chewing gum. The Aztecs had chicle trading routes in place, which were promptly destroyed by the Spanish. The gum became a memory, until it started coming back 350 years later.

Antispasmodic medication--> The Aztecs practised advanced medicine. They used a type of antispasmodic medication - medicine that could prevent muscle spasms and relax muscles, which may have been helpful during surgery.The Passion flower was used for this purpose, a flower which still grows in Mexico today. The passion flower is still used today as an herbal remedy, believed to help with insomnia, epilepsy, and high blood pressure.
The Aztecs, Maya and Incas