Dia De Las Madres digitally returns to the Exploratorium

The annual event focuses on giving recognition to both mother and Latinx culture during this Mother’s Day weekend

With+a+reopening+still+yet+to+be+determined%2C+the+Exploratorium+virtually+hosted+its+seventh+annual+Dia+De+Las+Madres+event+over+Mother%27s+Day.+The+museum+hosted+guest+speakers+and+demonstrated+art+projects+seeking+to+create+a+sense+of+community.+%28Leila+Figueroa+%2F+Golden+Gate+Xpress%29

Leila Figueroa

With a reopening still yet to be determined, the Exploratorium virtually hosted its seventh annual Dia De Las Madres event over Mother’s Day. The museum hosted guest speakers and demonstrated art projects seeking to create a sense of community. (Leila Figueroa / Golden Gate Xpress)

After having to cancel last year’s event due to the pandemic, the San Francisco Exploratorium brought back this year its seventh annual Dia De Las Madres event. For this year’s event, the Exploratorium went all digital and provided an online viewing experience for patrons.

“We have a lot of experts on our staff that we’re thrilled to be able to collaborate with. The first step was really working across groups in the museum. In particular, we have a Latinx coordinating committee who have been the leads on our Dia De Las Madres programs for a long time,” said Kathleen Maguire, senior program developer for arts and programming at the Exploratorium.

The event was week long with speakers appearing on May 5, 6 and 9. Guests were invited to view the event on YouTube on the respective days broadcasted live but viewers can also watch at a later convenience. Each day of the event was centered around giving viewers a different experience whether it be creating handmade bouquets or a discussion on the cacao plant with fellow experts. 

Each theme was meant to show the significance for not just mothers but Latina mothers, in particular, who carry both long-standing traditions and stories to share. The speakers were a selection of guests, from singers and songwriters to educators and entrepreneurs who all carry both stories and experiences that cater to the theme of the event.

The lack of in-person viewing has given the Exploratorium an incentive to both experiment with this year’s event as well provide the best experience possible. Maguire said viewer engagement was crucial when developing this year’s event. 

“We wanted it to feel a little bit participatory, even though it is virtual and video based, which is why we felt it was important to bring in a hands-on activity like Papel the Floras,” Maguire said. “And also we felt it was very important to maintain the sort of central serenade component and just offer that sort of joyful experience to both mothers, as well as everyone who is celebrating their mother.”

As museums throughout the city reopen, the Exploratorium remains closed until further notice. The interactive exhibits pose higher risks of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. The museum on Pier 15 continues to give guests and members a hands-on experience with at-home activities. (Leila Figueroa / Golden Gate Xpress) (Leila Figueroa)

Diana Gameros was one of the guests that the Exploratorium invited to perform at Dia De Las Madres, closing festivities off on May 9. Gameros is a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter recognized for her musicianship and her life story. The performance included a variety of songs written by Gameros that focus on her experiences, along with an ode to the variety of mothers she has known. 

“A lot of the songs have been about motherhood and it’s a very feminine energy, very maternal energy, and so I find it very fitting to be presented to be presenting songs during Mother’s Day,” Gameros told Xpress.

Gameros, who was born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, has been residing in the United States since she was 13 years old. She spent much of her teenage years in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant, living in San Francisco at the time. 

Now having legal status of her own, Gameros channels her experiences into the songs she has created which act as both an ode to her homeland as well as a way to cope at the time in having not visited in over 15 years. Her performance contained songs from her 2017 album, “Arrullo,” which was created in part as a tribute to her impending return at the time to Cuidad Juarez.

“Some of the stuff that I’m going to perform for Mother’s Day are songs that I learned as a little girl through listening to my uncles and my grandmother, my mother. And I have a special surprise for the audience, which I’m going to include my mother and my grandmother singing,” Gamero shared. 

Guests who are expecting a return to in-person at the Exploratorium are going to have to wait, as there are no plans in place for reopening to the public. Despite this news, Exploratorium staff are hoping to be able to invite visitors in at the earliest convenience once it is safe to do so.

“With all the time closed, we’ve had a chance to rearrange our floor, swap out some exhibit experiences that could potentially lead to a transmission, and get a chance to reinvent and make new experiences in each gallery that again, feel safe and comfortable,” Samuel Sharkland,  program developer at the Exploratorium, shared in what staff has been doing with visitors away.

Readers who are interested in viewing the event along with previous editions of online programming from the Exploratorium can do at the following link.