Los Dias de Los Muertos (the Days of the Dead) inspires an ongoing workshop by artist Marta Sanchez, where participants can make paper skeletons, tissue marigolds, and other offerings such as those that are taken along when Hispanic families visit the graves of loved ones on All Saints and All Souls Days. Skull cookies iced in pastel colors are also traditionally offered to the spirits, and the Museum Catering Company gives a workshop on decorating them.
Obon Odoricolorful folk dances traditionally seen at Buddhist temples in connection with Obon, a religious observance of Japanese Buddhists show their respect for loved ones who have diedwill be performed by Dr. Yoko Hashimoto-Sinclair of the Theater Arts Department of West Chester University. Alice Jean Wilson teaches visitors how to make their own Obon paper lanterns, and Dr. Frank Chance, Director of the Japanese House and Gardens at Fairmount Park, tells Japanese ghost stories.
Dressed for the Afterlife has tours of the Museum's famous mummy collection; then there are tales told by Egyptologist Dr. Janice Kamrin, and a showing of The Mummy, the classic 1932 horror film starring Boris Karloff.
The stunning wealth of Mesopotamia's Lady Pu-Abi (c. 2600 B.C.), highlights the Royal Tombs of Ur, excavated by Penn and the British Museum in the '20s and still one one of the world's most famous archaeological discoveries.
A tour of the African Gallery focuses on African beliefs about evil spirits.
Graduate student Richard Veit gives the slide presentation Stranger Stop and Cast an Eye: A Look at Local Graveyards, showing Colonial tombstone carvings and how historicans and anthropologists glean important information from them.
Masks of Many Cultures starts with a walk through the galleries at p.m., led by Artist Vaughn Stubbs, who then conducts a workshop in mask-making. Peanut Butter, the performance artist, paints the faces of children and adults. A fortune teller from Soothsayers gives a one-hour Palm-Reading demonstration, and Jacob Schwartz gives individual Tarot card readings, first come-first serve.
Halloween Dances, featuring the Terpsichore company with narrator Gene London (host of a beloved regional children's television program in the '60s), is the grand finale. Eight dancers from four different companies join together to perform three disparate forms of dancesacred, flamenco and tapconnected by a fairy tale, as told by Mr. London, of a young girl who has died and returns to visit her friends. The program is directed by Tarin Chaplin. Terpsichore, directed by Thomas Flagg, is a production company which educates viewers of all ages about the languages of diverse dance traditions.
Ghosts, Goblins and Graveyards is one of a series of University Museum "World Culture Days," made possible in part by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts. To obtain a free "passport" describing other family-oriented "World Culture Days," call the Museum at (215) 898-4890.
Volume 43 Number 8
October 15, 1996
Return to Almanac's homepage.
Return to index for this issue.