WACO, Texas – A day after Hispanic Heritage Month ended, the Mayborn Museum on Baylor University’s campus debuted an exhibit celebrating the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos.
The holiday is celebrated the two days after Halloween, and is aimed to remember dead loved ones.
“Dia de los Muertos is….it’s an opportunity for one to really reconnect with one’s loved ones, reconnect with the people that have passed, and just honor life in general,” says Eric Linares, the artist behind the exhibit.
Linares has celebrated the holiday with his family all his life. On top of being overshadowed by Halloween every year, he didn’t see his Mexican heritage celebrated too often.
“I think it’s a beautiful thing just to see a representation of that out on display, as part of a museum exhibit,” Linares said. “The Mayborn Museum is doing an amazing thing now that they are really trying to showcase the cultures of the community.”
The museum is hoping to show off Waco’s diversity.
“The Mayborn Museum and Baylor University wants all communities in the Waco area to be a part of our museum,” Mayborn Museum Engagement Manager Cindee Millard says. “By doing that, we’re trying to diversify some of our exhibits and diversify some of the displays we have here, so that everyone feels themself and sees themself here at our museum.”
For Linares, the exhibit holds extra meaning. He wants public participation in the project, but got it started himself by leaving a photo of his beloved grandmother, whom he lost while still a Baylor student.
“We invite everyone to bring an image of their loved one, to bring some kind of memento or something that they know will represent or honor their loved one,” Linares said.
The ofrenda aims to honor the dead while also unifying the community.
“We’re trying to reflect all the loved ones in the community,” Linares said. “We’re trying to have everyone experience this, everyone is on this together, and we all remember and honor our passed ones together.”
The museum will hold a virtual chat with Diana Lopez, the author of the book adaptation of Disney’s Coco, which follows a Dia de los Muertos story, on October 29.