Press Release

Coming Together: Time-Honored Traditions Tackle Staggering Losses

2020 Commemoration of el Día de Los Muertos | October 9–November 9, 2020

Denver, Colo. (October 8, 2020) — Ancient traditions meet a new moment of grief this year.

PRESS CONTACT
John Eding, Manager of Communications and PR
303-594-2133 (cell) | john.eding@state.co.us

The Chicano Humanities and Arts Council (CHAC) and History Colorado have joined together to create a Denver commemoration of el Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) inclusively focused on the losses of Covid-19 in Colorado. All are invited to join in the spirit of healing and resilience. Commemorations are also taking place in Pueblo, Fort Garland, and Trinidad.

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is an autumn tradition of Central and North America that dates back millenia to its Indigenous roots. Families create a trail of flowers, candles, and offerings to guide deceased loved ones from their gravesites to shrines, known as ofrendas, created in their homes and other gathering places. Favorite foods and handmade crafts are among common tributes. It takes place on Sunday, November 1 and Monday, November 2.

History Colorado and the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council (CHAC) are partnering on a community ofrenda at the History Colorado Center, on view October 9–November 9. All are welcome to visit this community altar, leave personal tributes to any loved ones, or create a paper flower to add to the display. Colorado artist and educator Arlette Lucero is leading its creation, which features art by artists Cal Duran and Mark Martinez Luna. Additional community ofrendas are also open to all at El Pueblo History Museum, Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center, and the Trinidad History Museum.

Coloradans who prefer to remain at home are welcome to submit a written tribute that can be displayed at the History Colorado site of their choosing. A submission form is available at h-co.org/form.

Guests may also visit the entire History Colorado Center at no charge on weekends before the election. Advance registration is required via historycolorado.org/democracy.

"Día de los Muertos is a valuable opportunity for us to come together to honor and remember our loved ones who came before us. It also exemplifies the strength that we can draw from our proud traditions", said Governor Jared Polis. "In both grief and courage, Coloradans are all in this together."

Ofrendas: Offerings of Hope
The Latino Cultural Arts Center, History Colorado’s partner for the art exhibition Hecho en Colorado now on view, has also organized an impactful commemoration. In collaboration with D3 Arts, Chicano Humanities Arts Council (CHAC) and JTOH program w/ Chicana/o Studies Department at MSU Denver, Latin Fashion Week Colorado, Lifeline, Re:Vision, and Rise Westwood, it is known as Ofrendas: Offerings of Hope. Throughout October until November 1st, Ofrendas will draw upon traditions passed on for hundreds of years, along with new additions, to share in a culture of learning, healing, and celebration. The efforts include numerous in-person and virtual opportunities, including a series of unique altar-kits supported by donations (quantities are limited). They include original handmade contributions of four Denver artists: Ana Marina Sanchez, Victor Escobedo, Lilian Lara, Cal Duran, and artisans from Mexico and Peru. The altar-kits are meant to be taken home and personalized according to your familial legacies as a form of remembrance and healing. More information and event details are available at lcac-denver.org/ofrendas.

About History Colorado
History Colorado is a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 non-profit that serves more than 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year. It is a 141-year-old institution that operates Colorado’s oldest museum, nine additional museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, and the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), which is the nation’s largest preservation program of its kind. The SHF currently administers more than 280 grants worth approximately $24 million in active distributions across the state. More than 70% of its grants are currently allocated in rural areas of Colorado.

History Colorado’s outlets are publishing Black voices and confronting entrenched racism in historic preservation. Its recent statement and historical essay on civil unrest have been widely shared by major news outlets. Within the last year History Colorado has added curators of Latino Heritage and LGBTQ+ History to its staff, and added a full-time position to its Museum of Memory team, which works proactively to incorporate underserved communities and voices into its contemporary collecting initiative and other efforts. For example, working from the knowledge that Latinos in Colorado are disproportionately affected by Covid-19, History Colorado partnered with Radio TriColor to document the social, economic, and health impacts of the pandemic on the Basalt-based Latino community. Resulting clips in Spanish are available here

History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. We serve as the state’s memory, preserving and sharing the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, collecting, outreach to Colorado communities, the History Colorado Center and Stephen H. Hart Research Center in Denver, and nine other museums and historic attractions statewide. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian Affiliates in Colorado. Visit HistoryColorado.org, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.