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 Día de los Muertos Festival
A 2D and 3D Experience!

The Smithsonian Latino Center in collaboration with the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) presents the Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos Real/Virtual Festival, a combination of real world events blended with social media activities and a featured 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 the Second Life platform courtesy of UTEP. Social Media outreach supported by Target, an education partner of the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum. Live Ustream broadcasts of Altar installation by featured artist/writer Sandra Cisneros courtesy of AARP.

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.

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 Dead Ballgame Tournament Ticket

Michigan State University (MSU) Challenges Defending Champs UTEP In Virtual Death Match
"We are looking forward for the opportunity to challenge our good friends and colleagues at the Smithsonian Latino Center and Michigan State University. The Meso-American Ballgame tournament has been a great way for us to collaborate educationally and culturally through technology—and to have some serious fun. Game on!" says Steven Valera, UTEP Mesoamerican Ballgame Captain, and Associate Director and faculty member at Academic Technologies for UTEP.

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, 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 Sixth Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration of Virtual and Real Programs and Events starting Oct. 27th – Nov. 2, 2014

  • Dead Poets Virtual Reading & Open Mic Hosted by Mouthfeel Press and UTEP Liberal Arts Department.
  • 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 27-31st.
  • Join us LIVE from Smithsonian National Museum of American Indian October 31st-Nov. 1 on LVM Ustream channel.
  • 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
  • LIVE from the UTEP campus Oct. 31st official Day of the Dead kick off ceremony
  • Día de los Muertos community ofrenda in LVM's virtual cemetery
  • University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) takes on the Michigan State University 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
  • Tweet your ofrenda during the blessing ceremony on opening night!
Ofrenda dedications include:
  • Betty Pino, the radio host known as the “Queen of the Radio” and who worked for Univision’s Amor 107.5 FM in Miami
  • Natividad “Nati” Cano (1933-2014) Mariachi los Camperos bandleader and teacher
  • José Luis "Cheo" Feliciano (1935- 2014) Puerto Rican musician.
  • Lydia Mendoza, corrido singer from San Antonio who was the first acclaimed female corridista in the US. Two of her performance dresses, photos and memorabilia are in the collection of NMAH


Arte Latino Collection

Interactive eBook for LVM Teacher Toolkit
Featuring Day of the Dead Transmedia Curriculum!
  Click here!

For more information click here for press release!

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

Smithsonian Latino Center Dia de los Muertos

The Official Calendar of Events
Download the official Calendar of Events for LVM's Dia de los Muertos
  Download the Calendar

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

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