The holidays are approaching fast as many families are gearing up to spend quality time together and getting gifts for loved ones. We can forget to honor those that have passed away and leave a legacy for our futures. The National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago’s Pilsen’s neighborhood has wonderful family oriented exhibits that show Latino heritage and family traditional values close to those in the Hispanic heritage.
The museum houses over 7,000 objects of Mexican culture starting from Pre-Cuauhtémoc which showcases Aztec empire to current day Mexican Americans living in Chicago. The museum art work ranges from paintings, sculptures, photography, prints, drawing and textiles. The museum has many events geared towards families such as family Sundays. Family Sundays is year round from 12pm to 2pm in which the museum has gallery tours and allows the family at the end of the tour to create art together.
One of the most popular exhibits in the museum is the largest annual Day of the Dead exhibit in the United States. This current exhibit starts from Hanal Pixan which means foods for the souls in Mayan, and goes into modern day times Ofrendas which explores the current memories of honoring our ancestors. This exhibit allows for families to explore culture and traditions of their own families as well as how they honor their dead. The day of the Dead exhibit runs through December 16, 2012. The museum is open year round Tuesday thru Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5p.m. and admission is free.
After exploring the museum take a walk around the neighborhood of Pilsen to explore more Mexican culture and great food at the local restaurants.
One concept to keep in mind when visiting the museum is to start a discussion on honoring deceased family or loved ones through creating art with photos. One lesson that can be done after the visit to the museum is described below.
The objective of this lesson is show the importance of honoring loved ones that are deceased through a family art project.
White Drawing Paper
Photos of deceased loved one
1. Take the white drawing paper and glue the photo of the loved one in the center of the paper. Take the markers and draw pictures of events or hobbies the deceased loved one enjoyed around the photo. Decorate with feathers and glitter.
2. Start a conversation during the construction of the picture about special memories of the loved one and why it’s important to honor our deceased.
3. Frame the completed picture and use as a keepsake for the family.