By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Penn Museum has a new exhibit opening next week, which explores the world of the Mayan culture from ancient times through today.

The exhibit titled, ‘Maya 2012: Lords of Time,’ includes more than 150 articles excavated by Penn archaeologists at the site of Copan, Honduras, where a dynasty of 16 kings ruled for nearly four centuries. There are also interactive displays where visitors can hear from modern day Maya, and replicas of underground tombs unseen by the public.

“They are 50 feet underground in a damp tunnel that the public is not allowed to go to,” says exhibit co-curator and hyrogliphyics expert Simon Martin. “So by doing the kind of things that we are doing, it gives people the first and only opportunity to see something in three dimension.”

The exhibit also includes an opportunity to learn about the 2012 Phenomenon.

“There’s been a whole lot of talk about what will happen in December,” says Curator Dr. Loa Traxler.

Traxler says the 2012 Phenomenon has the world fascinated about December 23rd and whether it represents the end of the world as we know it.

“Whether it will be a time of polar reversals and apocalyptic events- earthquakes and torrential storms,”  she says. “Or as many people believe, it will be a completion of cycle and a new beginning. So this year represents an opportunity for the Penn Museum and our Maya scholars to bring in the public to a much richer understanding of the Maya people.”

The exhibit opens on May 5.

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