Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) Festival at AMNH

Immerse yourself in the traditions of Día de Muertos during a family-friendly, full-day festival at the American Museum of Natural History, which will feature altars dedicated to extinct animal species, performances by Mexican folk musicians and dance troupes, hands-on artisanal and scientific workshops, and a craft marketplace.


The AMNH "Día de Muertos Day of the Dead" Festival will happen on Saturday, November 3, from 11 am to 5pm. The Museum is celebrating five extinct species as a way to honor the lives of those animals who were once members of our vast biodiverse family on Earth.

“We are always excited to bring forward the cultures of the world, and the chance to combine the Mexican tradition of Day of the Dead with the Museum’s educational efforts around biodiversity conservation is truly a one-of-a-kind opportunity for us,” said Bella Desai, Director of Public Programs and Exhibition Education at the American Museum of Natural History. “The project is meant as an open invitation to the people of New York and beyond to not only learn about the rich culture of Mexico and Oaxaca, but also to discover new perspectives on biodiversity and extinction as well.”

Traditionally, Día de Muertos is a day to celebrate the lives of members of our family and community who have died.

The Milstein Hall of Ocean Life and Hall of Biodiversity will transform into a family-friendly festival celebrating Día de Muertos with programs including:

  • A traditional pre-Hispanic dance ceremony dedicated to Day of the Dead from Cetiliztli Nauhcampa Quetzalcóatl en Ixachitlán
  • The Ballet Follorico Mexicano de Nueva York will be performing traditional music and dance from the festival of Guelaguetza that takes place in Oaxaca every year. Representative of specific groups, these colorful and festive choreographies are a celebration of indigenous identity.
  • A performance of a classic set with New York’s Mariachi Tapatio de Alvaro Paulino
  • A chance to design your own Día de Muertos mask, mini-altars, and other takeaways.
  • The legendary artform of papel picado, cutting imagery into colorful paper banners.
  • Storytime with the New York Public Library in their reading nook, designed to bring some of the vibrant stories about Día de Muertos, Mexican culture, and animal conservation to younger visitors
  • Enrique Olvera of Cosme and Atla will present the tradition of pan de metro, highlighting the methods of manufacturing, the messages behind the intricate designs, and giving visitors a chance to taste the authentic recipe of this traditional dessert. 
  • Opportunity to learn about the Museum’s collection of Zapotec artifacts and traditional funerary urns, used to honor ancestors of the pre-Hispanic indigenous cultures that inhabited the State of Oaxaca and beyond 
  • An exploration station where visitors can examine fossil skull casts to learn about our extinct hominin relatives, and find out how scientists use fossil skulls to piece together the human family tree 
  • The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation integrates the Museum’s science, collections, and technology to combat real-world conservation problems and solutions. Meet conservation scientists and learn how they – and you – can work to protecting our planet’s biodiversity. 
  • Expert artisanal chef Celia Florían presents ingredients endemic to Oaxaca, and insight into the state’s rich flavorful history. 
  • The art of black clay pottery as practiced by Barro Negro master Omar Fabin
  • Learn about alebrijies and papier-mâchè with artist Jacono ÁNGLES, who will present his colorful, whimsical creatures sculpted in a fragile, yet precise method 
  • Discover intricate Oaxacan weaving, passed on from generation to generation, with la maestra Elsa Abigail Mendoza. 
  • Over 30 artisans from Mexico and the U.S. present their wares at this all-day Mexican Marketplace. 

For additional details, visit - www.amnh.org/calendar/day-of-the-dead

For more information about AMNH exhibits, call 212-769-5100 or visit www.amnh.org

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