Funeral Museum Field Trip

I enjoyed the Funeral Museum. Does that tell you something about me you didn’t already know? Probably not. I liked the hearses, some from the 1800s. I liked seeing the carved wood, knowing how they carried the caskets. The museum had lots of samples of old caskets, including iron ones from the Civil War. They also had lots of baskets. Taking a body from wherever the person died to the home or the funeral parlor, used to be done by putting it into a basket.

Education: “Basket case” comes from the Civil War era when soldiers who had lost their legs to battle or infections were carried around in baskets. You can see why they wouldn’t like that when you realize the dead were also carried in baskets.

The weirdest thing at the museum, from my perspective, was the mourning “jewelry” which included shadow boxes of flower arrangements made from the hair of the dearly departed. Somehow the idea of spinning Gram’s hair into leaves and roses is just a little twisted to me. (And it shouldn’t be since I have my great-grandmother’s hair on a doll I grew up with. Of course, my greatgma was alive when she gave her hair to the doll- and when I was growing up.)

E’s favorite thing at the museum was the carved coffins from Ghana by Kane Quaye. There were outboard motors, leapords, fish, fish eagles, and other wild “coffins” including maybe an onion one with a carving of a woman pulling onions.

They have a “casket shop” with articles from real casket carvers. They have a “typical Victorian parlor” display from a death in the family, including the casket, but without the dead body.

They have a Civil War embalming tent set up. Nothing scary. Just two mannequins, a table, a desk… but no pistol or Bible, despite what the sign says.

They also have a room showing what was used for an embalming. But there aren’t even any mannequins in that one.

I missed the famous people room, so I don’t know what was in it. Something about JFK, Lincoln, and Nixon at least. That’s what the husband and the boys noted.