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Museum remembers those lost during coronavirus pandemic with Día de los Muertos gallery


CHICAGO — Woven in among the altars and art work inside Pilsen’s National Museum of Mexican Art is a quiet tribute to those impacted by COVID-19.

It’s a poignant walk through time marked by photos, boxed mementos and candles lit in memory of those who once walked among us.

“All those little intricate things that remind us of those memories and stories when we had those people around us,” said Antonio Pazaran, Director of Education.

While the Day of the Dead is a deeply rooted tradition for Mexican families, for many it has hit home particularly hard this year. 

According to the CDC, Hispanic individuals have seen a higher rate of infection and nearly five times the rate of hospitalization compared to white, non-Hispanic people in the U.S.

A ticker inside the museum tracks the death toll of all those who’ve passed away.

“The numbers are extremely high in farms and fields where people are picking vegetables and they got to work knowing they’re affected but they have responsibilities at home,” Pazaran said.

In Chicago, the majority-Latino Little Village neighborhood has been hit hard by the coronavirus, Pazaran said.

While the doors outside the museum are locked due to the pandemic, the celebration of those who lost their lives lost continues as part of a Dia de los Muertos tradition.

“Most importantly, you continue to tell their story and you continue to remember,” Pazaran said.

While the museum remains closed, they will be offering a virtual tour of their Day of the Dead gallery this year.


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