Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Museum of Funeral Customs to Live Again!

Actually, just the artifacts will live again, but even that's pretty exciting!

You may remember the Brief History story from last year about the Museum of Funeral Customs being forced to close due to the economy, lowered tourism and greater expenses. The Museum used to be right outside the gates of Oakwood Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln is buried with his family in Springfield. It was a fitting location, not only because of its proximity to a cemetery, but also because the museum held many Lincoln exhibits.

Just this month, the Hancock County Journal-Pilot reported that the entire contents of the Funeral Customs museum has been transferred into the care of the Kibbe Hancock Heritage Museum. Kibbe received tables, chairs and display cases in addition to a computer record system, but most importantly, the museum is now the keeper of hundreds of artifacts and research items.

The Museum of Funeral Customs closed their doors in the spring of 2009 and hoped to be able to move all of their collection to one owner rather than see it broken up and scattered. There was no cost to the Kibbe museum, and they are already planning how to best display this wealth of material.

They hope to have the Lincoln exhibits ready by March of 2012 which will include a miniature of Lincoln's funeral train and a replica of his coffin. This spring already the museum will put on view a Victorian embalming room and a selection of unusual caskets.

The Kibbe Hancock Heritage Museum is in Carthage, Illinois, not too far from Macomb. The Funeral Museum artifacts will be a great addition to their current collection and it's wonderful to know that someone has taken responsibility to bring those macabre items back to life.

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