On Sunday, November 5, the History Museum will join with Casa Círculo Cultural and the Redwood City Public Library to present a Día de los Muertos celebration.  In front of the museum, Courthouse Square will be decorated with sugar skulls, marigolds, and lights. Dancers, artists, and musicians will perform. Entertainment on the Square will begin at 4:00 p.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m.

The museum will be open with free admission from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m on Sunday, November 5 and host free children’s crafts in the Rotunda. Entrance to the crafts and general admission will be through the main entrance on Broadway.

The Festival of the Altars will be in Courtroom A and the Atkinson Room. There will be a special entrance on the Middlefield Road side of the History Museum for those wishing to view the altars.

Altars will remain on display through Friday, November 10, and there will be free admission on Friday, November 10.

Dia de los Muertos in Courtroom A at the San Mateo County History Museum
A young girl in Dia de los Muertos face paint works on a craft at the San Mateo County History Museum

Craft Activities:

  • Decorate a calavera, a representation of a human skull.
  • Create paper flowers like those used to decorate altars or graves on Día de los Muertos.
  • Make your own papel picado, the colorful paper banners used to decorate the festival.
  • Design barriletes These kites are flown over cemeteries in Guatemala during Día de los Muertos.
Large kite from Guatemala featuring people and flowers flown against the background of the stain glass dome

A barrilete or kite made in Guatemala will be on display in the Rotunda.

An ofrenda at Dia de los Muertos at the San Mateo County History Museum

Festival of Altars

Community members will create the Festival of Altars in Courtroom A. The altars traditionally honor family members who have passed and include some simple and some elaborate creations. They are often full of objects giving life to dead adult relatives, including food and drink.  Altars dedicated to dead children include toys, candies and other goodies.

Due to COVID-19, the annual Día de los Muertos event was not held at the History Museum and Courthouse Square in 2020.  Members of Casa Circulo Cultural presented a Courthouse Docket webinar on the history and traditions of Day of the Dead on November 2, 2020.