The Smithsonian Dia de los Muertos Festival in Second Life
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Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum in Second Life: Dia de los Muertos


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Smithsonian-UTEP Dia de los Muertos Festival
A Second Life Experience!

The Smithsonian Latino Center in collaboration with the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) present a Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos 3D experience in Second Life, an avatar based virtual world, using the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum (LVM) digital collections illustrating customs and beliefs varying from ancient Mesoamerica to those currently practiced in today’s Latino culture. This year’s festival is hosted on Second Life courtesy of UTEP.

Join us…in celebrating and exploring Latino cultural heritage through this holiday for honoring the dead and the cycle of life and death. Learn different aspects of Día de los Muertos and how it is celebrated and practiced.

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a day of celebration for the people of Latin America, particularly in Mexico and Central America, and more recently for Mexican Americans. Rather than grieve over the loss of a beloved family or friend, they choose to commemorate the lives of the dearly departed and welcome the return of their spirits. The history of Day of the Dead is embedded with Pre-Hispanic and Spanish customs. These customs shaped the common elements of traditional Mexican Dia de los Muertos. Today, Day of the Dead has been increasingly popular with Latinos in the United States. Though many of the traditional elements have remained how and where Day of the Dead is celebrated has changed.

Coming Soon! Festival Calendar of Events and Press Kit!

Make sure to check out our official Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos blog on Tumblr!

For live and archived events, visit our LVM USTREAM channel.

It is free to participate in LVM Dia de los Muertos you just need an avatar account and download SL client, then go directly to our Smithsonian LVM - UTEP Placita, UTEP Miners1 where our festival will take place.

Day of the Deak Ballgame Tournament Ticket

"Your events are very diverse ... poetry, storytelling, sports, parades ... music ... that's very good!" - Anonymous 2010 visitor, (SLC_SLVM_DODReport, 2010).

Sign up for Tournament here...send us an email at:

The Day of the Dead Ballgame Tournament, sponsored by the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), is based on the first organized, ancient Mesoamerican sport played almost 3,500 years ago, using a rubber ball. The ball game will take place at the Ballcourt of the Sun located in the UTEP Miner Island. Festival participants are encouraged to learn more about the game by visiting, and organizing tournaments with friends and family as the Smithsonian LVM - UTEP Ballcourt of the Sun will be open to visitors throughout the festival.

About LVM's Digital Collections:
The Ballcourt of the Sun simulation in Second Life was curated by Dr. Jane Walsh, curator emeritus, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). All other related Day of the Dead or accompaning virtual cultural objects were curated by the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum's curatorial advisory team.

Coming Soon!
The Smithsonian's Fifth Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration of in-world programs and events starting Oct. 30st – Nov. 2nd

  • Live Webcast and SL workshop on Exploring Cultural Identity via Avatars, October 30th, Gala Theater, Washington DC
  • Dead Poets Virtual Reading & Open Mic Hosted by Mouthfeel Press and UTEP Chicano Studies Dept.
  • Featured Artists, Poets and Musicians soon to be announced!
  • LVM Live -webcast mini series from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's behind the scenes altar installation by artist/writer Sandra Cisneros, October 21-24th.
  • Join us for interactive Learning Altar demonstrations
  • Pick up a 2014 LVM Dia de los muertos altar kit and build your own virtual altars and exhibit them in our public sandbox
  • Día de los Muertos community ofrenda in LVM's virtual cemetery
  • University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) takes on the Smithsonian home team in a meso-ball game tournament of life and death at the Ballcourt of the Sun
  • Fiesta de las Calaveras & Costume Contest
  • Film Festival featured at UTEP's NEW virtual cinema theater, UTEP Cinema
  • New! Tweet your ofrenda during the blessing ceremony on opening night!
This year's Ofrenda dedications will include:
  • MARVETTE PÉREZ (1961 – 2013) Smithsonian lost one of its Latina torch bearers, a curator of Latino history and culture at the National Museum of American History.
  • Hector Macho Camacho (1962 - 2012)
  • Eddie "La Bala" Perez (1962 - 2013)
  • Eyde Gorme (1928 - 2013)
  • Marcelino Serna : became the most decorated soldier from Texas in World War I. Serna was the first Hispanic to be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, and is a Congressional Medal of Honor Nominee.
  • Gloria Anzaldua: Gloria Anzaldua was a scholar of Chicano cultural theory, and author, who wrote Borderlands/La Frontera, which is recognized as one of the 100 Best Books of the Century by both Hungry Mind Review and Utne Reader.


Schedule of Events
Learn how to build your own altar!
  Download the Calendar

Arte Latino Collection

3D Dancing Calavera Interactive
Immerse yourself in dance, music and tradition…
  Click here to play.

Arte Latino Collection

Dia de los Muertos Kids Interactive
Explore cultural identity through tradtional your own ofrenda!
  Read the full story

Dia de los Muertos Festival Area map

Dia de los Muertos Festival Area Map
See the layout of the land. Download the Festival floor plan now...
  Get the map

Smithsonian Latino Center Dia de los Muertos

Read the Official Press Release
Download the official press release for LVM's Dia de los Muertos
  Download the Press Release

Come out and honor the dead…
...view the Dia de los Muertos promotional video.
  Read the full story