Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rest in Peace, Museum of Funeral Customs

The Museum of Funeral Customs used to be right outside the entrance to Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield where Abraham Lincoln is buried. Interesting more to history lovers than those seeking sensationalism, it was a nifty little treasure trove of funeral lore.

The Victorians were particularly adept at celebrating death-in-life, perhaps due to Queen Victoria's forty years of mourning for her beloved husband Albert. Funeral clothes, hearses, flowers, embalmers - all were explained in the museum for visitors who have become less and less involved in the mourning process. Not so long ago, families prepared and waked their loved ones at home, often burying them on their own acreage, but today a whole industry takes care of the tasks involved.

Unfortunately, the Museum of Funeral Customs closed in the spring of 2009 due to lack of funds. Perhaps one day, it will be resurrected for a new generation of history buffs.

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