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Dia de los Muertos FLX

The Rockwell Museum presents a virtual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration for 2020. On this page you’ll find a variety of educational videos, projects and resources by all the wonderful community partners we collaborate with each year.

Although are not able to have an in-person event this year, we are committed to connecting with students, teachers, families and individuals in the community to take part in virtual learning. Sharing stories of loved ones can help us navigate the tremendous amount of loss we are all experiencing worldwide.

Dia de los Muertos is a festival of “welcome” for the souls of the dead, celebrated on November 1 and November 2 each year. The celebration is prepared and enjoyed by the living, and honors those who have passed away. The customs surrounding this celebration are based on ancient traditions traced to the Aztec and Maya civilizations in Mexico. Today, there are large Mexican and Latinx communities across the United States, particularly in southwestern portions of the country, where Dia de los Muertos is widely celebrated.

Learn, Create, Participate and Explore traditions of Mexican culture with The Rockwell. We are proud to collaborate with Spanish educators and Latinx community members to offer authentic digital resources and share how the Museum collection of American art is influenced by diverse American traditions and experiences.


Join in the conversation! Mark yourself as ‘going’ to the 2020 Dia de los Muertos FLX Celebration event on Facebook to see new videos, resources and prompts as they’re released daily, October 21 – November 4!

Share your own remembrances and celebrations using #DiaDeLosMuertosFLX #DayOfTheDeadFLX!



Introduction to Dia de los Muertos

A collaborative project presented by The Rockwell Museum and The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes. ©2011

Virtual Art Tour with Mary Mix

Join Mary Mix, Director of Education, as she explores artworks in The Rockwell collection that connect to themes of loss and remembrance. When we lose someone we love, we find ways to honor and remember them – art is a beautiful way to do that. Take a closer look at Judith Lowry’s triptych, ‘Loves Unbreakable Heaven’ and Diego Romero’s ceramic vessel, ‘Never Forget: Jim Thorpe All American.’

About Oaxcan Ofrendas

Meet folk artist, Leonel Rosario and learn about the traditions celebrated in Oaxaca, Mexico, a region famous for their culture and food. Learn about the symbolic elements on a Oaxacan ofrenda to welcome the spirits of loved ones, and the customs associated with honoring and remembering people (and animals) in a positive way.

Jarabe Mixteco Dance

Watch and learn about the traditional Jarabe Mixteco dance performed by folk artists Leonel Rosario and Dolores Alvarado. Leonel is from the state of Oaxaca in Mexico and Dolores is from the neighboring state of Guerrero. Learn about the adorned clothing worn for this dance and the symbolism of the designs and style elements, influenced by the regions in Mexico from which Leonel and Dolores are from.


A How-To Guide to Building an Ofrenda in Your Home or Classroom

Follow along this step-by step guide to building an ofrenda for the Day of the Dead celebration in your home or classroom. Learn about the meaning behind the elements found on a traditional ofrenda, with Spanish Teacher, Bev Stevens, integrating Spanish vocabulary.

Art on the Go Kit | Sugar Skulls & Paper Flowers

These kits can be picked up in The Museum Store for just $5 (starting October 20, while supplies last)! Each project bag includes all the materials and instructions you need to decorate a sugar skull, and make your own paper flowers. Thank you to Dinorah Peters and Gloria Harris for their support on this project.



Sugar Skulls with Dinorah Peters

Dinorah Peters of Lowman, NY came to the Southern Tier from Tamaulipas, Mexico in the 1980s. A fabulous cook who began learning how to cook traditional Mexican dishes at the age of eight, Dinorah has been an ambassador for Mexican foodways and the traditions surrounding Dia de los Muertos in our region for a number of years. In her work with The Rockwell Museum, Dinorah has educated many people to the significance of making sugar skulls and Pan de Muerto at the museum’s annual Dia de los Muertos celebration. This intimate video shows Dinorah with her daughter and grandson making sugar skulls at home, what it means to her, and who she remembers. Extensive info on making your own sugar skulls can be found at

Video produced in 2020 by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes


Find more Dia de los Muertos resources and videos created by Karen Canning, Director of GLOW Traditions, a collaborative traditional arts and folklife program in western New York. Karen is affiliated with Genesee Valley Council on the Arts, Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council, Arts Council for Wyoming County, and works closely with community partners in Medina, NY.

Porfiria Mijangos explains the elements of a traditional ofrenda for Day of the Dead in her region of Oaxaca, Mexico. Interview and footage are from the Day of the Dead celebration at Orleans YMCA, Medina, New York, November 1 2019. Members of her extended family built the large ofrenda seen here for the annual community-wide event.


Oaxacan Sand Painting for Dia de los Muertos with Antonio Cruz

Making Pan de Muertos with farmworkers from Michoacan

Additional Resources


Thank you to all of the partners and educators for participating in this collaborative virtual event to celebrate Dia de los Muertos

Learn more about our presenters

The Rockwell Museum’s programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support was provided by the generosity of the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc., and the Hilliard Foundation.


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