Originating in central southern Mexico, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a celebration welcoming back the dead, who visit with friends and family during the holiday.  Celebrants believe that at midnight on Oct. 31, the souls of deceased children come to visit with their families.  They stay through November 1.  The souls of deceased adults visit on November 2.  Altars are set up to welcome the deceased with their favorite foods, games, photos of the deceased and other favorites.  

The Presidio Museum will host several altars this year including those honoring these groups/individuals that have passed:

  • COVID-19 Sufferers
  • Pets
  • Veterans
  • Supervisor Richard Elias

A couple of family altars will also be on display remembering deceased relatives of those families. 

The museum will accept applications for additional altar displays through Sunday, Oct. 25.  Click here for more information and to register or contact Kate Avalos, Interpretive Programs and Volunteer Manager, at katea@tucsonpresidio.com.

The culmination of the event will occur with a celebration from 10 am to 4 pm on Nov. 8 with the painting of paper Calavera (skull) masks and tinsmithing of Día de los Muertos patterns. Everyone who attends will also receive a treat bag of goodies to take home. Visitors are encouraged to arrive in Calavera face paint and/or costumes of any kind. This will be the last day all of the altars (including Supervisor Richard Elias’s altar, which has been up since the summer) will be available for viewing and adding mementos. This celebration is included in admission.

Prior to the larger Día de los Muertos celebration, the Presidio Museum’s Family Adventure Fourth Saturday event, occurring on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 am to 1 pm, will have a Día de los Muertos theme.  Attendees at this event will also have the opportunity to paint paper Calavera masks, receive a goodie bag and are encouraged to attend in their costumes and/or facepaint.  This event is ideal for ages 4-7, but is open to children of all ages and their families.  Other activities that could be included in Family Adventure Fourth Saturday are blacksmith demonstrations, colonial-period games, a story time and more!  This event is also included with admission.