Revolucion, muerte find new life at the Nevada State Museum |

Revolucion, muerte find new life at the Nevada State Museum

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Jeanette McGregor, right, and Dorothy Dylen, exhibit preparators at the Nevada State Museum, put up a caption plate at the "ÁViva La Revolucion!: Money of the Mexican Revolution" exhibit at the museum on Friday. The exhibit opens today in conjunction with the museum's Day of the Dead celebration.

The biggest attraction at the Nevada State Museum this afternoon will be death.

The museum is hosting a Day of the Dead celebration from 1-4 p.m., which includes ofrendas or offerings from five families, crafts, dancing and a lecture on the significance of the celebration.

“It’s in memory of the person’s life and traditionally includes things they liked in life. This has really become a multicultural celebration,” said Deborah Stevenson, curator of education.

Miriam Silis, of Carson City, was among those setting up an alter at the museum. While most offerings are dedicated to relatives or friends, Silis chose a more recognizable figure for the museum’s display.

“We are honoring Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo,” Silis said. “The offering includes bread made for the Day of the Dead and we always include fruits and vegetables. In Mexico they make real food and include it.”

Silis also included a pack of cigarettes and jugs symbolizing tequila because Frida smoked and Rivera loved tequila. Several types of flowers were also included.

“Diego included lilies and sunflowers in almost every one of his paintings,” Silis said.

Silis said she wanted to be included in the museum’s celebration to help promote a more positive image of her culture.

“Everything looks bad for Hispanics right now, but there are good things about us too,” Silis said.

Visitors to the celebration will also be able to make skeletons, decorate sugar skulls and create paper flowers.

The celebration is being held in conjunction with the opening of the “ÁViva La Revolucion!: Money of the Mexican Revolution” exhibit at the museum.

“It’s about the money and tells the story of the Mexican Revolution through the coins, paper and military awards,” Stevenson said.

The exhibit features numismatic material from 1910-20, a turbulent period in Mexico’s history. Brief biographies and photos of revolutionary leaders such as Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata and Victoriano Huerta are included. It is on loan from the American Numismatic Association’s Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo., through mid-January.

“ÁViva la Revolucion!” is the first exhibit in the museum’s history to offer information in both English and Spanish.

“We’ve actually been planning the whole event for over a year,” Stevenson said. “It’s a chance for us to reach out and bring a wider audience into the museum.”

The museum began providing tours in Spanish last year and also hopes to begin offering audio tour guides in both languages by early next year.

“It was time for the museum in Carson City to be more accommodating, let people feel like this is their museum and be more welcoming to everyone,” Stevenson said.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at or 881-1217.

If you go

What: Day of the Dead celebration and ÁViva la Revolucion!: Money of the Mexican Revolution exhibit opening

When: Celebration runs from 1-4 p.m. today, exhibit runs through mid-January

Where: Nevada State Museum, 600 N. Carson St.

Cost: Museum admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and free for children under 18

information: Call 687-4810 ext. 237 or go online at