Educating a wide variety of interested parties such as weavers, anthropologists, and Latin-Americanists, about Mayan textiles is a shared goal of the FOIM and the Museo. Our FOIM work is diverse—from putting on exhibits in the US, to publishing Bulletin articles, to subsidizing the translation of museum monographs, catalogues and DVDs into English in order to reach a broader public. We support textile research efforts via the library, collection photography, and sponsored fieldwork including on-site photography of vanishing trajes and traditions.

How to wear traje

Many of us are not sure how to actually wear the huipiles, cortes, or tocados. Here’s a video that might help. If you come across others, please share with us.

Textile Conservation

Textile conservationThe Museum’s collection is stored in a controlled environment to obviate damage caused by light, relative humidity, contamination, pests, etc. Its curatorial efforts have received worldwide recognition and led to several important grants. Thanks to sponsorships by organizations such as the John Paul Getty Foundation, the Government of Finland, and the Carene Foundation, the collection is identified and administered using a specially-designed program which records the characteristics of each piece. Systematic documentation and storage allows this heritage to be both conserved and also enjoyed via exhibitions. Significant donations and selective purchases continue to enhance the collection.

Use the Bulletin Archive on this website to read further conservation information in the June 2011 bulletin.

The Friends also maintain a small collection of textiles in the US which are used for local exhibits, lectures, and workshops. Contact us if you want to plan an exhibit or event; and we also welcome your donations.

Guided Tours and Workshops

The Museum has a Welcome room with introductory videos, as well as printed gallery guides in English and in Spanish. The Education Department offers guided visits in Spanish and English, workshops, backstrap loom weaving classes, and an interactive space “Alberto Habie”, where children can learn by experimenting and playing.

In the US, members of the FOIM Board give lectures and hands-on workshops as time permits. We have done so for several years at the Maya Weekend put on by University of Pennsylvania, and most recently in May, Yolanda Alcorta demonstrated to the Hajii Baba Society in Washington, D.C. how the types of threads, size of designs, dominant colors and weaving techniques can help date textiles.


Since 1983, the Museo Ixchel has published more than 20 monographs on textiles. A subset of these has been jointly funded by the Friends of the Ixchel Museum—works have been either translated into English, or developed as a bi-lingual publication from concept. Publications can generally be ordered directly from the museum. However, the Friends has limited supplies of recent ones which it makes available to its members as a service. Current offerings are listed below and can be ordered via our email Note: prices do not include shipping and handling.

Embroidery: Stitches that Unite Cultures / Bordados: Puntadas que Unen Culturas
A lavishly-illustrated softcover book showing techniques and designs from this art form that frequently supplements Maya weavings. Serves as the catalogue to a recent exhibition. Authors: Barbara Knoke de Arathoon and Raymond E. Senuk. 120 pages with color illustrations (2010). $30/each plus S&H.

Maya Huipiles of Guatemala / Huipiles Mayas de Guatemala

An indispensable tool for visual identification of everyday Maya huipiles (blouses) from 117 communities. It is a large, double-sided “map”—34 by 23 inches printed on heavy stock, with color photographs and detailed information. Excellent as reference or as a gift (2011). $15/each plus S&H. (detailed description in Friends Bulletin December 2011).

Images of Indigenous Guatemala / Rostros de la Guatemala Indigena

A stunning set of field photographs by Anne Girard de Marroquin, the museum’s long-time Director of the Photographic Archive. 20 black and white and 100 color images. All proceeds will be donated to the Museo Ixchel (2012). $35/each plus S&H. (detailed description in Friends Bulletin June 2012)

Additional Museo publications are usually available at US-based lectures and exhibits by the Friends of the Ixchel Museum, but are not sold by mail.

An annual calendar is sometimes offered… if interested, please let us know by e-mail

Click here for a complete list of Museo Ixchel publications.