Many of the lectures for the previous two years are available online. Scroll down to see titles and links to watch them on YouTube.  While the lectures are free for library members and nonmembers alike, your donation help supports the library's programs.  Make a donation here.


2021 - 2022 SEASON

8 Dec 2021 - Robert Caskey & Teresa Castellanos: How To Choose An Architect/Builder For Your Construction Project. Teresa Castellanos has been satisfying clients for 25 years, first designing commercial buildings before deciding to focus on residential projects. Bob Caskey is a long-term resident of Merida and has worked with multiple architects and builders. Together, they will offer insights into an important aspect of expat life in Merida.  Watch the talk here.

15 Dec 2021 - Carlos Domenech: Mérida: City of Light and ShadowCarlos was born in Cuba and raised in the US. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)  with a minor in architectural photography.  He will present a series of city images in black-and-white. Watch the talk here.

22 Dec 2021 - Kevin Alvelino: Ostriches And Their Benefit To The Planet & Us . Kevin and his team from Mexico City have been raising ostriches in Yucatan for four years. Although they come from a financial markets background, raising ostriches is not about the money but the impact they will have on fighting climate change. Watch the talk here.

5 Jan 2022 - Fernando Abreu: Home Maintenance 101: A Guide for Living in Centro. Fernando Abreu holds a Bachelor in Architecture and a Master of Construction Management. Leading the design-build firm CENTRO architects, he has more than ten years of experience remodeling and renovating homes in Merida’s Centro. With a concentration on residential work, renovations in the downtown area now make up the majority of the studio's projects.  Watch the talk here.

26 Jan 2022 - Dr. Marianna Kunow: Visions of the Underworld and Supernatural Creatures in Folktales from Yucatan and the Popol Vuh. Marianna Appel Kinow holds a PhD in Latin American Studies/ Socio-Cultural Anthropology from Tulane University. Dr. Kunow has published a book, "Maya Medicine: Traditional Healing in Yucatan", and teaches Spanish and Mythology at Southeastern Louisiana University.  This talk was presented via ZOOM; watch the recording here.

16 Feb 2022 -Bob Temple, PhD: Yucatán in Maximilian’s Empire. In the 1860s, France invaded Mexico, set up a client-state empire, and recruited Maximilian and Carlota as rulers.  Because of its geographical isolation and distinctive culture, Yucatán avoided direct involvement in a lot of Mexican history.  But during the French intervention, events connected our region with the Empire in surprising ways. Bob Temple is the author of "After the Meteor: Surprising History of the Yucatán".  Watch the talk here.

23 Feb 2022 - Dr Tomás González-Estrada: Sombreros de Jipi Japa. Dr. González-Estrada was born in Mérida and earned his Ph.D in Crop Biotechnology from the University of Guelph.  He is currently the Director of Planning at Center for Scientific Research of Yucatán (CICY). Watch the talk here.

2 Mar 2022 - Jeff George: Sea Turtle Conservation & Status in Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula. Jeff was the longtime executive director of Sea Turtle Inc., a rescue and rehab center on South Padre Island in Texas, and has spent time with ProNatura, the non-profit group responsible for much of the Yucatán's sea turtle programs. ProNatura is responsible for all Sea Turtle activity in Celestun, Cuyo, and Holbox which are the largest nesting beaches (by nest count). Watch the talk here.  Please consider making a donation to ProNatura.

9 Mar 2022 - Mark Callaghan: The Artistic Half-Century. Mark will discuss the development of his artwork in painting, printmaking and especially in handpapermaking over the last 50 years.  He will also talk about some of the courses he taught in papermaking, serigraphy and drawing, and his involvement in the papermaking business.  Mark immigrated to Merida in 1970 with his mother and brother and studied painting with Ermilo Torre Gamboa in 1971-1973. He subsequentially studied fine arts in La Escuela Nacional de Pintura y Escultura in México City and earned a BFA at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, where he majored in printmaking. Later he researched and developed hand papermaking and created plastigraphs, paintings and sculptures from paper he made. In 1994 he began a papermaking business called HUUN Mayan Paper. He has shown his artwork in many individual and group exhibitions in Mexico and the USA.. Visit Mark's website for more information. Watch the talk here.  

20 Mar 2022 - Dr. Alma Durán-Merk & Stephan Merk: Teobert Maler: German Explorer of Ancient Yucatán.  The German Teobert Maler (1842-1917) spent the last three decades of his life exploring, documenting and photographing Maya ruins. His work is still foundational for understanding Maya Culture. Alma Duran & Stephan Merk have been scientific partners in several ethno-historical scientific projects. Alma holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the Universität Augsburg, Germany, where she served as lecturer and researcher before moving permanently to Mérida. She is the author of “Villa Carlota: German Colonies in Yucatán”, and of “In Our Sphere of Life – German-Speaking Immigrants in Yucatán and Their Descendants, 1876-1914“.  Stephan Merk, a journalist by profession and training, has specialized in Ancient Maya Culture; he has authored more than 70 articles on the subject. Since 1990 he has served as co-editor of the scientific journal MEXICON. His original research has been compiled in two published books under the title “The Long Silence“; the third one is on its way. Watch the talk here.

30 Mar 2022 - Andrea Figueroa & Rodrigo Navarro: The Melipona Bee. Andrea & Rodrigo founded the Miel Nativa Kaban project in 2019, which strives to generate the responsible production of honey from the Yucatan's stingless bees.  Rodrigo is expert in the breeding of these bees, and Andrea has a passion for gastronomy and the economic development of indigenous communities.  Watch the talk here.  Find out more about their enterprise on their website https://www.mielnativa.com.  

6 Apr 2022 - David Aldrich: The Road to Rio Lagartos: from gross anatomy to a portrait of the community of Rio Lagartos, an old dog reflects on his creative journey with the human form. David has spent his life involved with the visual arts, as both an artist and a medical illustrator, exploring the intricacies and nuances of the human body. He holds degrees in oriental art history (B.A.) from the University of British Columbia), and in medical illustration (BSc, Art as Applied to Medicine) and medical education (M.Ed, Medical Education) from the University of Toronto. Watch the talk here.

13 Apr 2022 - Reg McGhee: Mexican Revolution: Part III.  Watch the talk here.


2020 - 2021 SEASON

21 Apr 2021 - Reg McGhee: The Mexican Revolution: The Battle Lines Are Drawn, 1913-15. Watch the talk here.

21 Feb 2021 - Alma Durán-Merk and Stephan Merk.: Views from the Outside: Visitors and Explorers of the Yucatán - Part I: The Colonial Era (1517-1810). Watch the talk here.

10 Feb 2021 -Dr. Margaret Shrimpton: Emilio Abreu Gómez and The Story of Jacinto Canek: Crossovers Between History and Literature in Yucatán. Dr. Margaret Shrimpton Masson holds a Ph.D. from the University of Havana where she wrote her thesis on contemporary Yucatecan literature and its connections to the Caribbean. She holds an MPhil in Latin American Studies from the University of Cambridge UK. She has been living in Merida, Yucatán since 1989 and since 1990 has been a  professor of Latin American and Caribbean literature at  UADY. Her research centers on literature from the mainland Caribbean region. Watch the talk here.

27 Jan 2021 - Marina Aguirre.: Searching the paths of the Sacred City of Izamal:  An interesting approach to the charming yellow-painted city in Yucatán.  Dr. Marina Aguirre is an archaeologist, ethnohistorian, and doctor of history. Watch the talk here. Check Marina's complete bio on her website.

22 Jan 2021 - Mariana Kunow: Animals in Yucatecan Folktales. Marianna Appel Kunow holds a BA in Visual Arts from Southeastern Louisiana University and an MA and Ph.D. in Latin American Studies/ Cultural Anthropology from Tulane University. Teaches Spanish and Mythology classes at Southeastern Louisiana University.  She fell in love with Yucatan and Mayan culture in the late 1980's after a dive trip and has conducted research in Yucatan state since then. Published Maya Medicine: Traditional Healing in Yucatan (2003 University of New Mexico Press) based on fieldwork in the peninsula. The book explores contemporary plant use, describes some of its practitioners, and traces the links between modern and colonial traditions. It also includes her original botanical illustrations. Watch the talk here.

13 Jan 2021 - Leandro Soto.: Memorabilia as Art Material. Leandro Soto was born in Cuba, obtaining a B.A. in Painting and Engraving in 1976 and an M.A. In 1990 he created a Non-Profit organization named “El Tesoro de Tamulte” dedicated to by the State of Tabasco in order to be an educational advisor for the Mayan Native communities. For the past 40 years, he has been participating in numerous group exhibitions and solo shows in museums, art galleries, and alternative art spaces in Spain, Argentina, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Colombia, Venezuela, Germany, Peru, Japan, Barbados, Panama, Jamaica, Italy, Cuba, India, and the United States.    Soto is one of the leading figures of the famous “Volumen Uno”, a renowned art movement of the 1980s that changed the course of Cuban Art in the XX Century.  He is credited with being the first Performance and Installation artist on the island as well as the first artist of his generation to have worked with the Afro Cuban heritage. As a visual artist instilled with the “ethnographic turn”, his main focus is to research the sources of the Caribbean cultural palimpsest which he has integrated into his work in various countries both in Theater and the Visual Arts.  His areas of expression include Painting, Installation, Performance Arts, Scenography, Costume Design, Films, and new hybrid art forms. Watch the talk here.

6 Jan 2021 - George Ashley: Lazaro Cardenas: The Fading Hero. George Ashley, a retired professor of History and Anthropology from Massachusetts, spends each winter at his home on San Bruno beach near Telchac Puerto.  Lazaro Cardenas was a young soldier in the revolutionary forces during the Mexican Revolution and served as President of Mexico from 1934 to 1940. He was famous for pushing hard to confiscate land from the owners of large haciendas and establishing ejido collective ownership of the land by the campesinos who now worked their own land, rather than doing unpaid labor on land the landlord owned. He also confiscated the assets of large, foreign-owned oil companies and established what we now call Pemex. He was treated as a national hero by the PRI party, many institutions were named for him, and his likeness appeared on large-denomination banknotes.  Since the PRI turned away from its socialist program in the 1990s and began to sometimes lose national elections to the PAN since 2000, Cardenas is no longer glorified by PRI hagiographers and he has begun to fade from Mexican history.  Cardenas himself remained true to his revolutionary and socialistic principles in old age, travailing widely and encouraging socialism in China and Eastern Europe. But foreigners who have come to Mexico only in recent years may have never heard of him. Watch the talk here. 

30 Dec 2020 - Dennis Johnson:  Ground Penetrating Radar. Join lecturer and expert in the subject, Dennis Johnson, in this interesting lecture about this technology and its use in archeology. Ground Penetrating Radar is a technology that has been used to investigate Ancient Maya agricultural adaptation, to detect caves, and so much more. Watch the talk here.

16 Dec 2020 - Michael Tolleson Robles: The Autistic Savant Painter. Michael Tolleson is an American author, advocate, and artist living in Merida. Diagnosed with Autism in his late fifties, he is considered an Autistic Savant and started painting with no formal training. Michael’s gift allows him to paint gallery-worthy art usually in under 2 hours, a feat he attributes to following the autism artist within him. Michael has gained international attention for his work and advocacy of autism. He has recently opened Galeria Robles in the historic center of Merida. Watch the talk here.

2 Dec 2020 - Bob Caskey: From Merida to Tikal: A do-it-yourself tour. This lecture  will allow you to get information on a delightful itinerary you can drive yourself across Belize and onward to Tikal. Learn about sites you can easily explore for their natural beauty and historical significance. If you're not comfortable driving this tour in your personal vehicle, you'll find out other options to take advantage of this opportunity. Watch the talk here.

4 Nov 2020 - Brent Marsh:  Tax Law Changes in Mexico. Are you an owner of a vacation rental property in Mexico?  Do you advertise to guests on platforms such as Airbnb and Homeaway? If so, you are probably affected by recent changes in tax law in Mexico. Find out how the new law on Taxation on Digital Platforms affects you, your rental income, and what you must do to comply. Watch the talk here.

28 Oct 2020 - Dr. Marina Aguirre: The colorful story of the Tehuacana dress. Dr. Marina Aguirre is an archaeologist, ethnohistorian, and doctor of history. Watch the talk here.  Check her complete bio on her website.

21 Oct 2020 - Dr. Tomás González-Estrada: Habanero Pepper: Tears, Fears, and Flavors. Dr. Tomás González-Estrada, a native of Mérida, holds a Ph.D. in Crop Biotechnology from the University of Guelph, Canada. He is the former director of CICY (Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán) and has written extensively on the Habanero pepper. Watch the talk here.