Latin Exhibition Opens on El Dia de los Muertos

Posted on 10/21/2015 10:42:35 AM

Walk Through Latin America paradeThe University Museum, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, will open an exhibit titled Walk Through Latin America on October 31, running through December 12, 2015. Located in Sutton Hall, admission is free to the University Museum exhibit and all related activities.

The diversity of Latin America and other Latino cultures, past and present, will be represented. The dates of the exhibit span an appropriate time from the traditional Latino celebrations surrounding “El Dia de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) through Navidad, the Christmas season.

The celebration is a university-wide collaboration that extends beyond the museum, across the campus, and into the local community. Major themes include cultural music, dance, identity, survival, modern expressions, ritual and religion, and everyday life. Art and artifacts will be displayed, including paintings, ethnic clothing, masks, everyday household objects, and more.

The exhibition will open with IUP’s third annual Day of the Dead Skeleton Processional on Saturday, October 31. Dia de los Muertos celebrates life and memorializes the dead as participants contemplate the cycle of life and honor the memory of one’s ancestors. Day of the Dead is Mexico’s national holiday and is also celebrated in other Latin American countries and in the United States.

IUP’s Skeleton Processional is a festive, family-friendly event that honors the Mexican tradition of families walking to the cemetery to clean and decorate tombs of deceased loved ones. The processional includes musicians, drummers, dancers, and costumed figures carrying giant parade puppets. Free face painting will be offered at Fisher Auditorium from 4:30 until the processional begins at 5:45.

From there, the procession begins its slow journey through the Oak Grove ending at the museum in Sutton Hall as the opening reception for the exhibition begins. Anyone wishing to participate are invited to join the procession, with or without costumes, and then join us in the museum for more music and traditional foods.

Spearheaded by Sociology Department graduate student Lisa McCann, the project has become a cooperative effort encompassing the university and community. She and Lydia Rodriguez, director of IUP’s Latin American Studies Program, have been working with a variety of student, staff, and community volunteers to plan the procession and a wide variety of other exhibit-related activities on and off campus throughout November with speakers, workshops, music performances, and other programs. A calendar of events is available online.

Regular museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 2:00–6:30 p.m., Thursday noon–7:30 p.m., and Saturday noon–4:00 p.m.

For more information on these and other related events or to schedule a tour, please contact Leslie Kluchurosky at

Summary/Opening Weekend Activities, October 31

  • Face painting: 4:30 p.m.
  • Processional: 5:45 p.m.
  • Opening reception: 6:00–8:30 p.m.