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Media Advisory Special Preview of Smithsonian Day of the Dead Display by Sandra Cisneros

October 29, 2014

WHAT: The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History invites media to photograph the
               in-progress installation of “A Room of Her Own: An Altar for My Mother” a display by author
               Sandra Cisneros in the tradition of “Día de los Muertos”

WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 29
                2 p.m.

WHERE: National Museum of American History
                  “American Stories” exhibition

NOTE: Enter via Mall entrance at Madison Drive between 12th and 14th streets N.W.

WHO: Sandra Cisneros, author

“A Room of Her Own: An Altar for My Mother” was designed by acclaimed author Sandra Cisneros in the tradition of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) ofrendas (altar) to honor her deceased mother, Elvira Cordero Cisneros. Inspired by the fact that her mother only had her own room in the last 10 years of her life, Cisneros incorporates objects from her bedroom, including books and the painted bedframe at the center of the altar. Other elements include tapestries, hand-painted Mexican boxes, embroidery, photos, a doll, candles, sweets and flowers to reflect her mother’s love for gardening. “A Room of Her Own: An Altar for My Mother” will be on view in the museum’s “American Stories” exhibition through Jan. 12.

Día de los Muertos is a festival celebrated by people in Mexico, parts of Central and South America and increasingly throughout the United States. People mark the occasion by creating altars that display portraits, favorite foods and special possessions of their loved ones. Outside of the home, families visit graves, bringing food and music and decorating the headstones with flowers.

The altar is on loan to the museum from Cisneros.