The ancient New World, one of the illustrious cradles of human civilization, is featured at The Mint Museum. This wide-ranging collection showcases more than 2,500 artworks from the ancient Americas. The museum’s collection, the majority having been donated by Dr. and Mrs. Francis Robicsek, is one of the largest in the United States, spanning 4,300 years of artistic creativity from 2800 BCE to 1500 CE, and presenting more than forty of the major societies from ancient Mesoamerica (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador), Central America (Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama), and Andean South America (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile).
Two galleries are dedicated to the arts of the ancient Americas at Mint Museum Randolph, exploring the works from two viewpoints. First, the objects are viewed as windows into the society that created them, borrowing the “material culture” approach from anthropology and archaeology. As such, artworks reveal a people’s daily routines, social practices, politics, intellectual accomplishments, and spiritual beliefs. The museum equally views these pieces as art–that is, manifestations of human creativity and technical expertise that highlight the universal impulse to produce well-crafted, emotion-filled objects. The aesthetics and creative techniques developed by the ancient artists of the Americas are equally explored in the galleries. These works–in earthenware, jadeite and other stones, gold and silver, shell, and fiber–personify and preserve these now-lost civilizations whose descendants are the foundations of the modern nations of Latin America.