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Fall offerings at anthropology museum include exhibit, family workshops, lectures


August 28, 2008

Wake Forest University’s Museum of Anthropology will kick off the 2008 fall semester with its annual “Dia de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) exhibit.  This semester will also include a new series of Cultures Up Close family workshops, educational lectures and two museum shop sales.

The Day of the Dead exhibit will open Sept. 16 and run through Dec. 17

Day of the Dead is an ancient religious celebration that originally honored ancestors, both living and dead.  This blend of ancient Indian and Christian customs is considered a festive time when family members remember and honor their dead and the continuity of life.

This year, the bilingual exhibit will feature a new children’s “ofrenda” (home altar) and a photo essay depicting how the town of San Miguel Allende, Mexico, celebrates the holiday.  Other items in the exhibit will include a traditional Mexican ofrenda, photographs of public ofrendas, and toys and objects used in children’s ofrendas.  Ofrendas typically include sugar skulls, colorful tissue paper cutouts of skeletons, food and beverage offerings, marigolds and photos of deceased relatives. 

In September, October and November, the museum will offer families with elementary-school aged children its Cultures Up Close series. 

The workshops take place from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the second Sunday of the month. The programs feature a learning activity about a different culture with an accompanying art project. 

On Sept. 14, the first program will be “Ancient Codices.”  Participants will learn how the ancient Aztec, Maya and Mixtec people created books (known as codices), and they will have an opportunity to make a book of their own.

The second session, “African Adrinkra,” will be held Oct. 12.  Children will learn about the symbols on African adrinkra cloth and design their own t-shirts using adrinkra stamps.

At the third program, “Aboringinal Dot Painting,” on Nov. 9, participants will learn about the Aboriginal people of Australia and the tradition of dot painting and then create their own painting.

Museum lectures offered this fall will include the following:

  • “Tombs for the Ancestors:  Adding the Bioarchaeological Dimension,” 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23.  Renowned scholar Jane Buikstra, professor of bioarchaeology and director of the Center for Bioarchaeological Research at Arizona State University, will discuss how information gathered from skeletal remains enhances knowledge of the ancient Americas. 
  • “Unauthorized, Unsanctioned and Unorthodox: Origins and Contemporary Significance of Popular Mexican Saints,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20.   Christine Whittington, Director of the Library at Greensboro College, will discuss several saints who are venerated in Mexico and the United States but are not authorized by the Catholic Church. 

The Museum Shop will also hold two sales this fall.  The Fall Back Sale will take place Sept. 9-30.  A special selection of merchandise will be available at greatly reduced prices. 

From Nov. 18- Dec. 17, the museum will hold its annual Holiday Sale featuring holiday decorations and select gifts from around the world.  On purchases over $5, shoppers receive a 15 percent discount; MOA Friends receive 25 percent off. 

The Museum of Anthropology is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.  Extended hours may be offered during shop sales.  Admission to the museum is free.

For more information or to register for workshops, call (336) 758-5282 or e-mail moa@wfu.edu or visit the museum Web site at www.wfu.edu/moa.

Press Contacts:

Pam Barrett
(336) 758-5237


Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237


A traditional Mexican “ofrenda,” a home altar with sugar skulls, colorful tissue paper cutouts of skeletons.
A traditional Mexican “ofrenda,” a home altar with sugar skulls, colorful tissue paper cutouts of skeletons.
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