Longmont Museum Hosts 18th Annual Día de los Muertos Exhibit & Celebration

The Longmont Museum and Cultural Center, 400 Quail Rd., will be hosting their 18th Annual Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, exhibit Oct. 13 – Nov. 6 offering all guests FREE admission. The Longmont Museum’s Day of the Dead exhibit allows you to learn more about the cultural tradition of celebrating and honoring deceased loved ones by viewing community-made altars, participating in exhibition tours, seeing one of many music and dance performances and joining the Family Celebration on Saturday, Nov. 3.

Longmont’s annual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration is the Longmont Museum’s signature event and the largest Day of the Dead celebration in Colorado, attracting more than 6,000 people to the exhibit, family event and related programming. The celebration demonstrates how a diverse community can come together to share a common desire – to honor our ancestors and keep their memories alive.

The free exhibit will open to the public beginning Saturday, Oct. 13. In partnership with the Mexican Cultural Center, the Longmont Museum is proud to showcase Xólotl: Dios Perro, a monumental alebrije sculpture by international artist Oscar Becerra. Alebrije are brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures. Altars for the dead, created by members of the community, will also be a central part of the exhibit.

A key part of Day of the Dead is preparing an altar where photographs, favorite foods and personal mementos of deceased loved ones are arranged. Altars often are displayed in the home and at the cemetery. Skeletons and skulls made of sugar, bread, ceramics or papier-mâché provide final touches, and neither expense nor effort is spared when building a Day of the Dead altar.

The Family Celebration, Colorado’s largest celebration of Día de los Muertos, is from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3. This is truly a community celebration that includes music, dancing, sugar skull decorating, community altars, paper flower making, face painting, Lady Catrina and more.  Visitors are encouraged to come dressed in your finest “calaca” (skeleton) apparel.  The Family Celebration is free, so bring the whole family!

There will also be additional programming throughout the duration of the exhibit. Below is a calendar of events:

Day of the Dead Exhibition Tours: Curator Conversation
Tuesday, October 16, noon; free admission
Join a Longmont Museum Curator for a guided tour of the exhibition.

Bilingual Tours
Saturdays, October 20 and 27, 1 pm and 2:30 pm; free admission
Don’t miss the chance to share an authentic relationship with Día de los Muertos through our free tour of the exhibition with bilingual tour guide Laura Zavala. Laura will tell you about the ancient Mayan and Aztec origins of the celebration, how it blended with Spanish Catholic traditions, and how it became a part of our local culture here in Longmont.

The Living & the Dead: An Evening of Storytelling
Thursday, October 25, 7:15 pm; $10 general admission, $7 Museum members
Honoring the dead is universal. This storytelling event will illuminate how different cultures approach death in celebration, mourning, and remembrance. Enjoy personal and traditional stories from Central America and around the world. This event is presented in collaboration with Rocky Mountain Storytelling. Arrive early to enter a drawing for the chance to tell your own five-minute story. Buy tickets online

Sugar Skull Making Day
Sunday, October 28, 1 pm; free admission
Drop in to this family-friendly event and learn to make sugar skulls. You will help make sugar skulls that will be decorated during the November 3 Family Celebration. Children will need adult assistance. We will begin making sugar skulls at 1 pm and will continue until the sugar runs out!

Stirring the Melting Pot: A Panel Discussion on Cultural Appropriation
Thursday, November 1, 7:15 pm; free admission
Join us for a lively and heartfelt conversation with local community leaders as they share their experiences with cultural appropriation and examine the risks and rewards of sharing their traditions with the wider community. Moderated by educator Adriana “Lupita” Ramirez. Followed by Q & A.

In addition to the Museum’s programs, a gigantes procession and 6th Annual Catrina Ball hosted by the Firehouse Art Center are all part of this community-wide celebration. Visit downtown Longmont to see altars created and displayed by many of the downtown businesses. Find out more information here.

The Longmont Museum & Cultural Center is open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. For more information on Día de los Muertos or the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center, click here. Photos: Longmont Museum and Cultural Center.