Illinois State Museum celebrates Día de los Muertos

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Illinois State Museum in Springfield. Photo from Facebook

The Illinois State Museum (ISM) announced its new exhibition, “Honrando a Nuestros Ancestros: The Bridge Between the Living and the Dead” celebrating Día de los Muertos, is now open in Springfield.

Produced in collaboration with the Mexican Cultural Center DuPage, Hispanic Women of Springfield, and students from the Diversity Center at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS), the exhibition has five ofrendas created to honor those who have passed away. It also features 10 brightly colored alebrijes created by Mexican artists.

“For the UIS Students who participated in creating this exhibit, this was a moment to share their home and culture with the greater Springfield community. There is this perception that museums are only meant to showcase historical items, and this exhibit challenges that narrative,” said Daniel Aguilar, program coordinator of Hispanic/Latinx outreach at the UIS Diversity Center.

“Our celebrations and traditions we do in our homes are worth sharing with others. For UIS students, placing the photos of their loved ones was a surreal moment. Now their loved ones are present and in a place of honor for the world to see,” Aguilar said.

Additionally, the Hispanic Women of Springfield, UIS Diversity Center, and the ISM will host a family day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Museum in Springfield to share the Dia de los Muertos celebration with the community.

“This family day is an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the Mexican and Latinx cultures from the communities themselves. It also brings the vibrancy of Dia de los Muertos to the Museum, as we remember, learn, and celebrate together,” said Jenn Edginton, the Illinois State Museum’s director of interpretation.

The “Honrando a Nuestros Ancestros” exhibition is on view through Jan. 2 at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield. It is made possible by El Xochimilco, the Legutko Family, and Doug Stapleton. Funding for Family Day and exhibition programming is made possible by the Ryder Family and Lilac Funds at the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln.

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