Weaving Generations Together, Evolving Creativity in Maya Chiapas, provides unique insight into the living Maya and their ancient weaving traditions. It incorporates the story of cultural and economic changes among the Zinacantec Maya people as reflected in their textiles.

Based on a book by the same title by Professor Greenfield, the exhibit offers a fascinating look into psychological, social, and economic forces that fostered a remarkable flowering of Zinacantec Maya weaving in the late 20th century. It is the result of careful research into the work of two generations of Maya weavers. Prof. Greenfield examined the effect of an economic transition from subsistence to commerce on learning and teaching strategies among weavers in the village of Nabenchauk in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. She found that the economic change resulted in the emergence of a new level of creativity among the weavers reflected in stylistic developments in woven and embroidered clothing.

Prof. Greenfield studied a relatively brief period of about 46 years in a much longer tradition; but, in a short space of time, she witnessed the rise of a surprising diversity in Zinecantec Maya textile design and the development of a new level of creativity among traditional artists. Prof. Greenfield had the tools and insight to uncover new modes of intergenerational transmission underlying the dramatic stylistic changes she witnessed and documented. She also discovered early learning processes that enabled virtually every Zinacantec girl to become a weaver. The exhibition illustrates the unfolding of dramatic changes through a selection of exquisite textiles and beautiful pictures taken on site for National Geographic by award-winning photographer, Lauren Greenfield.