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Sacramento Area Museums Offer Plenty of Ways to Celebrate Día de los Muertos

Photo courtesy of Sacramento Children's Museum

The greater Sacramento area is rich with an amazing array of state-of-the-art museums and historic sites that offer visitors the chance to explore California’s art, history, and science treasures all year long. And during October and November, many members of Sacramento Area Museums (SAM) are offering special Dia de los Muertos community celebrations, exhibits and activations to experience and enjoy.

A sampling of the special activities is below (but please check with the various museums and/or destinations for other events and more detailed information):

11th Annual Souls of the City Celebration in Old Sacramento Waterfront – October 21

The community is invited to come together with friends, family, and neighbors to honor the past, celebrate the present, and create memories for the future with live performances, captivating art installations, community vendors, and more. The Old Sacramento Waterfront will be highlighted by vibrant colors, music, and ancient traditions of Dia de los Muertos from 4 to 9 p.m. on the 1849 Scene (big grassy area across from the California State Railroad Museum). The annual event was founded and organized by Sol Collective in partnership with the Center for Sacramento History and The City of Sacramento. More information is available here.

I Love Sugar Skull” Workshops at the California Museum – October 29

A great family-friendly activity open to all ages, the community is invited to learn how to design and decorate “calaveras de azúcar” (sugar skulls) for Día de los Muertos in one of two workshops at 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. led by Rob-O of I Love Sugar Skulls. A workshop fee includes a pre-made sugar skull, royal icing and assorted decorations, personalized instruction plus admission to all current Museum exhibits. Workshop space is limited and advance registration is strongly recommended via this link.

Dia de los Muertos Celebration at the Sacramento Children’s Museum – November 1 & 2

Little ones will love learning about Dia de los Muertos traditions at the Sacramento Children’s Museum. Young participants can decorate sugar skulls, add a photo or note to the altar, and more. All activities are included with admission and more information is available here.

El Panteón de Sacramento at Latino Center of Art & Culture — November 3-5

The Latino Center of Art & Culture is partnering with the Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum, Taller Arte Del Nuevo Amanecer (TANA), Sol Collective, and the Washington Neighborhood Center to offer altar making workshops to the greater Sacramento area. Featuring live music and dance, the goal is to partner with community artists and explore the social justice issues affecting our communities while passing on the sacred art of altar making. More information is available here.

Arte Activista: Dia de los Muertos 2023 at the California Museum thru November 26

A journey through life, love and death, the Arte Activista: Día de los Muertos 2023 exhibition features contemporary altars and artwork by artists representing the 3B Collective, a Los Angeles-based group of Indigenous, African American, and Chicano artists and designers. Members of the public are also invited to honor friends and family members who have passed with a remembrance in the exhibit’s accompanying Community Altar. More information about the culturally significant exhibition is available here.

As background, Día de los Muertos (or Souls of the City) is traditionally celebrated on November 1 and 2 each year. It is a festival to welcome the souls of loved ones who have passed away. In Mexican culture, it is believed that once every year the souls visit the world of the living and it is a tradition to prepare altars with offerings in honor of loved ones who are no longer with us. Día de los Muertos is not to celebrate death, nor something to fear; instead, it is a celebration of life, an occasion to remember our loved ones who have passed away.

For more information about upcoming activities offered by Sacramento area museums, “like” them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SacMuseums, follow them on Instagram and X @SacMuseums or visit the user-friendly website at www.SacMuseums.org.

About the author

Traci Rockefeller Cusack

Traci Rockefeller Cusack has 25+ years of media and public relations experience.  Her work experience includes News10 (ABC) as Promotion Manager from 1989-1998 (where she developed and launched “Coats for Kids’ Sake,” a winter coat drive that lasted 20+ years plus coordinated Oprah Winfrey’s first ever visit to Sacramento) and Fleishman-Hillard as Vice President from 1998-2005 (where she led the wildly successful statewide “California Grown” program and also produced the five-minute video that played on the Jumbotron on Opening Day at Pac Bell Park). In 2007, she launched T-Rock Communications and currently handles a wide range of marketing activities for a number of top-notch organizations.

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