This year’s Day of the Dead exhibit opens Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the Sonoma County Museum in Santa Rosa, with a public reception set for 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7.

Working with local artists and others in the community, the museum presents five decorated altars commemorating the lives of lost family and friends, in keeping with the traditional Mexican El Dia de Los Muertos festival.

The exhibit also features prints by Maria de Los Angeles of Santa Rosa and papier mache by Ruben Guzman of Oakland, said Jennifer Bethke, the Sonoma County Museum’s art curator.

This year’s central altar is devoted to the theme of Mexican muralists, showcasing the art of Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

Liz Camino Byers of Santa Rosa, who has served as a guest curator for the annual exhibit for the past five years, loaned the museum pieces from her own Mexican folk art collection this year.

Unlike Halloween, the Day of the Dead doesn’t dwell on the macabre or the frightful, she said.

“To me, it’s more of a celebration of life,” she explained. “It transcends ethnicity. It satisfies a need to remember loved ones.”

The show runs through Nov. 4  at the museum, 425 Seventh St., Santa Rosa. The museum will host a free Day of the Dead family day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 29.

Museum hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. $5; $2 for students, seniors and disabled; free for children 12 and under.

Information: 579-1500,