At This NEK Museum, Death Is Part Of Everyday Life

Nov 3, 2014

If you’re not familiar with the Day of the Dead, it’s easy to conflate the holiday with Halloween. It happens just two days later, and it sounds vaguely creepy.

But really, the holiday is meant to celebrate lost loved ones.

It originated in Mexico as “el Día de los Muertos,” but it’s similar to “All Souls Day,” which is celebrated in other parts of the world.

Clare Dolan organized the all-day event at the Museum of Everyday Life in Glover. The celebration started with a boat race, followed by a 5K run and performances.

Dolan built this altar to remember loved ones in her family that have passed away.
Credit Annie Russell / VPR

Participants were also encouraged to create miniature altars to honor the dead.

She says the holiday is about celebrating, rather than mourning lost loved ones.

"It's about being able to feel the presence of those departed people and to give them love. To appreciate them and to share that with the next generation, the kids in your family. To celebrate the fact that death is a part of life." - Clare Dolan, Museum of Everyday Life

“It’s about being able to feel the presence of those departed people and to give them love. To appreciate them and to share that with the next generation, the kids in your family,” said Dolan. “To celebrate the fact that death is a part of life.”

Dolan, founder and director of the museum, says it features curiosities that you can find in ordinary places.

They’ve got an exhibit on toothbrushes, for instance.

“The museum of everyday life is a museum experiment, based here in Glover, dedicated to the celebration and exploration of ordinary objects that we use every day,” said Dolan. “Objects that are of very little monetary value, but immense consequence to our daily lives.”

Dolan says she thinks the museum is a logical place for the celebration. She says often people are reluctant to talk about death, but she hopes celebrating this holiday will get it out into the open.

She says after all, death is a part of everyday life.