Texas Connects Us: Helping Through Heritage

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas is hosting the Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed exhibit right now. It takes a closer look at the ancient ruins and lost civilization of the Mayan culture.

It's the largest and longest-running exhibit in the museum's five-year history.

"I was reading in one of the local newspapers about the Maya exhibit and, since I'm a Maya descendant, I wanted to be here, " said Juan Mugartegui, a museum volunteer. "I was born in Honduras."

The exhibit makes Juan feel right at home. For the Perot Museum it's a perfect fit.

Juan can volunteer and give visitors a first-hand account of his home country.

"Every time I come to this place it's like taking a capsule of time in reverse, " he said.

Back to his childhood, when wondering in the jungle, he first came across a monument that's now on display in the exhibit.

"I had never seen something so big, " Juan recalled.

When he saw the replica at the museum he was at a loss for words.

"It took me 66 years back in time when I was 12 years old."

He also had an instant connection to another display that shows visitors how rubber soccer balls are made out of tree sap.

"The balls that we used to play with were a quarter the size of this one, " Juan added. "We'd collect it and then by hand we'd have to fashion the balls. Until we had a round ball and then, let's play!"

Juan enjoys sharing these stories with others. It's a win-win, for the museum and Juan.

"Makes you proud to be a Maya descendant, " he said.

The exhibit will be at the Perot Museum through Labor Day. NBC 5 is a proud sponsor.

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