World’s Leading Authority on Mayan Hieroglyphs Makes First Public Appearance at the Witte Museum

Dr. David Stuart to deliver keynote address at Texas Trailblazers

SAN ANTONIO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Witte Museum is proud to announce the world’s leading authority on
Mayan hieroglyphs and art, Dr. David Stuart, as the keynote speaker of
the 5th Annual Witte Museum Texas Trailblazers Luncheon on
April 12, 2016. The event marks Dr. Stuart’s first appearance at the
Witte, during which he intends to share his insights about the
translation and interpretation of Mayan hieroglyphic writing. The event
takes place in the museum’s new Mays Family Center for exhibitions and
special events and builds further excitement for the premiere of the
center’s first exhibition: Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed.

For centuries, scholars considered Mayan hieroglyphs and calendars too
complex to understand. Dr. Stuart, who is now a professor of
Mesoamerican Art at the University of Texas at Austin, began deciphering
Mayan hieroglyphs at the age of 10, and delivered his first scholarly
paper on Mayan glyphs at the age of 12. At age 18, Stuart became the
youngest person to ever receive a MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known
as the “Genius Award,” to further his groundbreaking studies into
cracking the Maya code.

David Stuart’s expertise on the structure and content of Maya
hieroglyphic writing were highlighted in the award-winning PBS
documentary film “Cracking the Maya Code.” The documentary details his
travels to the remote jungles of southern Mexico and Central America to
investigate how the code was broken and what Maya writings now reveal.

“There was an artistry and a playfulness that was as much a part of the
system as the recording of language. So, visually it was complicated,
but once you organized that visual material into the system that
existed, it made perfect sense and you could predict things. You could
really crack the code that way,” said Stuart in the film.

“Dr. Stuart’s keynote address detailing his compelling breakthroughs in
decoding Mayan hieroglyphics is the perfect lead-in to the highly
anticipated exhibition, Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed,” said Witte
President and CEO Marise McDermott. The exhibit, which opens to the
public on May 14, is the biggest traveling exhibition in the United
States featuring Mayan culture. The immersive exhibition enables
visitors to experience the Mayan way of living and features the impact
of the Maya on the world today.

The luncheon also honors Texas Trailblazers of the Year, Peggy and Lowry
Mays, whose transformational gift to the Witte led to the construction
of the building named for their family. For tickets or sponsorship
information, visit

Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed is generously supported by the Orr
Family Foundation, the City of San Antonio Department for Culture &
Creative Development, and an anonymous donor.
The Mind of the Maya
Series is presented by the Orr Family Foundation.

About Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed:

About David Stuart, Ph.D.

The son of archaeologist George E. Stuart and writer Gene S. Stuart,
both of whom wrote extensively for the National Geographic Society,
Stuart spent much of his childhood accompanying his parents on
archaeological digs and expeditions in Mexico and Guatemala. David
received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Vanderbilt University in 1995,
and taught at Harvard University for 11 years before arriving at the
University of Texas at Austin, where he now teaches Mesoamerican Art and

About the Witte Museum

Founded in 1926, the Witte Museum is located on the banks of the San
Antonio River in Brackenridge Park and is San Antonio’s premier museum
promoting lifelong learning through innovative exhibition, programs and
collections in natural history, science and South Texas heritage. The
Witte hosts an average of 350,000 visitors each year, of which over
150,000 are school-aged children and 80,000 are free of general
admission during weekly Free Tuesdays hours.


Witte Museum
Katye Brought, 210-357-1876
cell: 210-416-4026